Was recycling the biggest swindle of the past 20 years?

Jul 08, 2019

Last week I shared an article by The Guardian titled “Humans have made 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic since 1950” If you missed it the link is at the end of this blog.

The Current Situation

The article states that up until recently we had no idea how much plastic we had created, and now that we know, the picture is not pretty.  8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic have been created from 1950 to 2015, that is a terrifying statistic. It is equivalent to the weight of 1 Billion elephants!!

But the worst is, only 30% of the plastic created is still in use, the rest has been disposed off in three ways: 79% is in our landfills and environment, 12% has been incinerated and only 9% has been recycled. What really got me thinking, is that half of the amount of plastic generated since 1950, was actually made only in the last 13 years. That means over 4 billion metric tonnes of plastic has been made in just 13 years.

Why has our production increase so expedentially without anyone worrying about it? I include myself on this, I am now 39 years old, so I consider myself now as part of the “plastic” generation.

Me, and everyone in my generation, have allowed this to happen right under our noses. Not only have we allowed it, we have encouraged it, by increasing our consume of single use plastics, non recyclable plastics, over packaging, etc.

Remember my blog a few weeks ago when I spoke about the baguette I used to go and buy in my childhood that had no packaging at all? Well that all changed, in front of my eyes, and I never gave it a second thought. Why is that? Why did we allow this?

Because society was made believe that plastic was a great material to use, and more than that, it was recyclable, therefore, it never posed a danger to our environment.

Increasing our plastic in ignorant bliss.

I still remember the years when a household will only have 1 bin. 1 bin!! These days, every house has 2 to 4 bins.

We used to put all of our waste in one bin, that would be collected by the public waste management company. When recycling started to be a “thing”, we were all told to put all of our plastic, no matter if it was hard or soft plastic, newspapers, cardboard and cans into the recycling bin. And this is the way it was for years.

We were never told recycling items need to be washed, and dry and lose in our bins.

We were never told that the majority of plastics we were putting in the bin would not be recycled.

We all lived in ignorant bliss, thinking it did not matter how much our waste was increasing, because as long as it was plastic, it would be recycled.

Don’t you agree?

Plastic manufacturers were able to up their production, and their wallets, under the swindle of recycling. If their product was recyclable and cheaper than other products, why not produce more and more?

Plastic production jumped from 2 million metric tonnes in 1950 to over 400 Million metric tonnes in 2015, that is a 20,000% increase on plastic production in just 65 years.

Fast forward to the present, and only in the past couple of years society has been told recycling is not enough, you need to make sure only the correct items go into your recycling bin, soft plastics are not recyclable, everything has to be washed and dried and loose in your bin.

What the hell?

So what happened to the items I thought I recycled in the past 10 years?

I feel so cheated.

I thought I was doing my bit all along. I did not care about the continued increase of packaging in my life because I thought it was all recyclable. If I was on the road and I bought 2 plastic bottles of water, I did not care, cause I would put them in my recycling bin.

And now? The last time I forgot to bring my reusable bottle in the car, I felt so guilty I could not buy bottled water, so I spent 2 hours in a hot car in thirst, arriving home with a headache.

Today, 1 MILLION plastic bottles of water are bought EVERY MINUTE in the world. Let me say that again, 1 MILLION PER MINUTE. And the blame is falling in the consumer, in people like me, that for years, have been told those bottles will be recycled.

So why did nobody explain to us the reality of recycling sooner?

Why did they allow the problem to get so bad? And most importantly

Who knew recycling was the biggest swindle of the past 20 years?  

Until Next Week! Sign up to my weekly thought of the week HERE


If you want to read more about Recycling statistics check out our colleagues at Comfyliving.com Blog HERE

Disclaimer: I still firmly believe that waste segregation in households and businesses is necessary and I do not discourage recycling,  just because our recycling is not been dealt with properly it does not mean we need to stop our own waste segregation. Let it be their fault not yours. I also encourage everyone to learn how to minimise their waste as this is the only solution to improve our waste situation. 








50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.