Solid Waste

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

The State of Recycling National Survey

You toss your plastic water bottle in a recycling bin after coming home from a trip to the beach, hoping the plastic from that bottle will be in next year’s plastic bottle, right? It most likely will not. Currently, plastic can only be re-manufactured a limited number of times, at best into a lower quality product because it degrades each time it is recycled. The value of recycled plastic may be low enough that your bottle is instead burned in an incinerator or dumped into a landfill.

A few years ago, that plastic might have been sold to China or another foreign nation. However, over the last few years, countries across the Pacific are putting restrictions on importing U.S. waste. Without these export markets, the U.S. recycling industry is in serious trouble, as exemplified by your plastic bottle’s likely journey to a landfill or incinerator. Of course, using a reusable water bottle would have avoided this issue, and for that reason, reduction and reuse strategies are preferable to recycling, even when recycling works.

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

The State of Waste in California

Californians throw away 6 pounds of trash every day, equivalent to almost 2200 pounds every year, roughly the weight of a subcompact car. These individual results more than double the state’s 2020 goal of 2.7 pounds per person per day (PPD).

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Solid Waste

Plastic pollution: One day, three solutions

One day, three decisions -- all of which may have far-reaching effects on plastic pollution in the United States.

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