If all plastic carryout bags were recycled, we wouldn’t need to ban plastic bags. The EPA says that only about 12% of plastic bags are recycled in America.
In 2008, 102 billion plastic bags were produced in the United States. At a 12% recycling rate, only 12 billion were recycled. Of the remaining 90 billion plastic bags, only about 200 million went into municipal solid waste and then into landfills. The rest of the 90 billion are unaccounted for. Are they in the ocean?
In order to garner a higher recycling rate, two things must happen:
- A stronger, more repetitive educational and citizen awareness campaign
- The availability of recycling bins must become common place, the same as trash cans.
Recycling must be as convenient as plastic!