Recycling plastic increases consumption

Plastic Fantastic Love,” an article by Surfrider Foundation Hawaii manager Stuart Coleman, appeared in the Honolulu Weekly today. It gives a thorough explanation of the problem of plastics, and the threats it poses to marine life, public health, and a sustainable planet.

It also includes this excellent quote from Oregon Surfrider activist (and my friend) Stiv Wilson:

“Though we believe that material recovery in the waste stream is important, plastic recycling is not the ultimate solution,” says Stiv Wilson, a journalist and ocean activist who worked with the Surfrider Foundation to help pass bag bans in the Pacific Northwest. “Industry, by their own admission, can’t make a bag out of a bag. It takes 70 percent virgin plastic to create a new bag, which means all we’re doing by plastic recycling is creating more, not less plastic in the world, while giving the average, good intentioned citizen the illusion of progress. This is precisely why industry pushes plastic recycling–it’s a guaranteed increase in consumption, but it ultimately does nothing to reduce the amount of plastic garbage entering the ocean.”

Emphasis mine.

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