A report in the Los Angeles Times presents a clear and accurate portrayal of the current problems communities are having recycling new "eco-friendly" products. The article outlines not only the problems as they stand today, but also how past efforts and innovations have lead to the current confusion consumers are having in regards to what items can be recycled.
The article cites one particular dilemma as it relates to biodegradable products and where they should be disposed,"And those "biodegradable" utensils — part of the wave of corn-based plastics landing on store shelves? It depends. In a landfill, they might not act much differently than other trash. But they're not like other plastics, so they can't go in the blue bin. They might compost in an industrial composter with other green-bin yard waste, but they are less likely to break down in a lower-temperature home composter — at least not for a long time." In other words, the preferable end of life option for these products is not readily apparent, especially as new types of products enter the market.
These issues provide hurdles to increased recycling, and thus hurdles to making our communities sustainable. Some of these problems can be addressed through clear and truthful labeling, as addressed in our Environmental Advertising Compliance Campaign, while others are issues of standardization and increasing opportunities to recycle.
To read an in depth discussion of these topics,as well as some background on the evolution of recycling, click here.