The process of recycling can actually make plastics more hazardous to human health, according to a recent Greenpeace report that calls on the United Nations to rule it out as a scalable fix for plastic pollution.
Released ahead of the second round of negotiations for the UN’s Global Plastics Treaty, which will begin on Monday, the report compiles the findings of several peer-reviewed studies from across the globe.
These suggest that recycled plastics often contain higher concentrations of toxic chemicals such as flame retardants, benzene and other carcinogens than virgin plastic. Recycled plastics also contain “numerous endocrine disruptors that can cause changes to the body’s natural hormone levels”, according to the Greenpeace report.
How many times have we heard this: let’s pretend an idea works so we can get another decade of business as usual and our shareholders get lots of value, no matter the long term cost. There is no quick fix. There may be a few exceptions to this rule but none I can think of right now. But, for some reason, the many quick fix solutions take up a huge amount of space in our time. If you believe advertising there is a quick fix for everything.
I think, to believe in quick fixes is like looking at a ball rolling down a mountain and not realizing that before that could happen the ball was slowly pushed up the other side of the mountain.