Have we been hoodwinked by the plastics industry?

For years, we have been walking around with our heads held high, knowing that we are doing our bit to save the planet by carefully separating plastic items from other recyclables.

But could it be that many of us have been hoodwinked into thinking we are doing well by recycling when, in fact, we should be avoiding plastic altogether?

Production took off in the during the second World War when plastic was substituted for metal and wood. It was soon marketed to the world as an ‘easier’ substitute for other products such as glass.

At first people were actively discouraged from reusing plastic products, which are typically cheaper to produce from scratch than to recycle.

In a video entitled ‘The Great Recycling Lie’, ethical investor and best-selling author Sorelle Amore revealed her findings and belief that the plastics industry ‘tricked people’ into believing that all plastics were recyclable and that purchasing recycled plastic items was ‘good for the planet’.

Many of us still fall into this trap today.

In 1988, The Society of Plastics Industry created plastic resin identification codes which indicate the specific type of plastic a product is made from. The symbol around the codes, which are numbered one to seven, closely mimics the recycling symbol.

This means that we often presume a plastic item is recyclable without first checking what type of plastic it is made from, because we have subconsciously noted the symbol we associate with recycling.

Plastic is now found in products across almost every industry and a recent article by The Guardian even revealed that microplastics were found in 80 per cent of blood samples provided by anonymous donors.

The truth is that it is far better to avoid products that contain plastic altogether, recycled or not. We must revert to more sustainable practices, such as shopping at open markets where food is not wrapped in unnecessary plastic packaging or growing our own veg if we are able to do so. These are just two examples of what we can do to assist.

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