November 19, 2020
What is the current overall recycling rate in the US?
The recycling rate is only about 35 percent, according to the EPA. It could be worse--it was only 10% in 1980--but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.
It’s important to recycle and reuse because making new materials requires more energy to produce. Which of the following products causes the most environmental impact to make?
According to a lifecycle study from Denmark’s environmental protection agency, aluminum cans take the most energy to produce by far of these containers. Make sure to recycle!
Which of these is the most difficult to recycle?
A juice box is not just paper--it’s paper layered with metal and plastic so that liquid doesn’t leach out. This amalgamation of materials makes is very difficult to recycle compared to the other materials, which are all easily recyclable.
Different materials are easier to make than others. How many times would you have to reuse a cotton reusable shopping bag before it will have less environmental impact than a single-use plastic bag?
Denmark’s environmental protection agency produced an analysis comparing the environmental costs of alternatives to single-use plastic bags. The results are surprising!
Which of the following are single-use plastics?
“Single-use” is often equated with “bad.” But that’s not accurate. Many single-use plastics provide important benefits and aren’t replaceable.
Microplastic waste in the ocean is a major problem. What part of the world do you think accounts for the biggest source of plastic waste entering the ocean?
As we consider policies in the US to decrease waste and increase recycling, it’s important to keep in mind the bigger picture. The problem of ocean plastics isn’t something the US contributes very much to. Researchers have pinpointed Asia as the major source of plastic trash entering the ocean.
What is the majority of trash found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
According to National Geographic, “the patch is mostly abandoned fishing gear.” While many advocacy campaigns focus on plastic bags or straws--things that certainly shouldn’t be littered--a huge portion of plastic in the ocean is nets and other fishing gear.
How long does it take biodegradable plastic to biodegrade in the natural environment?
Contrary to what many assume, “biodegradable” just means it will break down--but it doesn’t imply it will happen quickly. PHA, or polyhydroxyalkanoate, is an example of a bioplastic that takes years to break down. Read more at the New York Times.
How much trash does the average person generate per day?
According to the EPA, the average American produces 4.4 pounds of waste each day, much of which can be recycled