Environment Recycling & Waste Refuse -- The New 'R' By Karl Burkart Writer Swarthmore College University of Oregon Karl Burkart is a writer, architect, digital strategist, and nonprofit executive focused on issues including climate change, biodiversity, clean energy, and sustainable agriculture. our editorial process Karl Burkart Updated June 05, 2017 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Recycling & Waste Plastics Zero Waste I had my eyes opened to the massive problem of plastics pollution in the U.S. just a few nights ago at a film series sponsored by the Plastic Pollution Coalition called 'Is Plastic Washed Up?' The event featured footage from the recent expedition to Midway Island where photographer Chris Jordan documented the massive plastic pollution problem in the Pacific Ocean. It also screened the amazing film Tapped, which brings to light the dirty secrets of the bottled water industry. Here's the trailer: Plastic Pollution Coalition created a S.U.P.E.R. (Single-Use Plastic Emergency Response) Hero pledge that inserts a fourth 'R' at the beginning of the phrase "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" and that word is "Refuse." The problem is simply too massive to allow a gradual reduction in single-use disposable plastics. Every five minutes, 2 million plastic bottles are thrown away, using 750 million gallons of crude oil per year. In the U.S. only 20 percent of those bottles are recycled. The Plastic Pollution Coalition supports container laws. States that have a 5-cent container deposit see 80 percent recycling rates, and the one state (Michigan) that has a 10-cent deposit, sees 97 percent recycling rates. But as expected, major bottlers like Coca Cola and PepsiCo are against a national container law for fear that the extra cost will deter consumer spending. Whether or not such a law goes through, PPC feels it is time U.S. consumers to start saying "no" in the first place to disposable plastics. In addition to the environmental impacts, more reports are coming out that confirm everyone's worst fear -- plastic bottles do in fact leach chemicals into your water. Some of these chemicals are linked to infertility, cancer and autism. You can sign their SUPER Hero Pledge here and join Jackson Brown in banishing those nasty plastic bottles from your grocery cart.