The ‘complicated truth’ about recycling and the plastic water-bottle ban

In his letter to the editor Mickey Friedman writes: "Omaha, Nebraska, for example, has a comprehensive plastics recycling program and makes it especially easy for residents to separate their plastics in a special envelope."

To the editor:

I appreciate how passionate people are about plastics. I do wish, though, that advocates for the plastic water-bottle ban, such as Marcia Arland, would acknowledge a simple truth  — there is ongoing plastics recycling right here in the United States.

According to the American Chemistry Council, “Plastics recycling is a growing industry in the United States with nearly 18,000 companies handling and reclaiming post-consumer plastics.

“Recycling programs can vary from place to place, but most community curbside programs recycle plastic bottles, and many large grocery and retail chains now offer bins to collect plastic bags and wraps for recycling. So, there’s a very good chance you can recycle these common items where you live. In 2011, Americans recycled more than 5.3 billion pounds of plastics.”

As for local communities coping with the issue, Omaha, Nebraska, for example, has a comprehensive plastics recycling program and makes it especially easy for residents to separate their plastics in a special envelope.

According to First Star Recycling: “Plastic bottles can be recycled by placing them in your curbside recycling or by taking them to one of our drop off sites … many soft plastics that were previously discarded can now be consolidated in Hefty® EnergyBags™ and converted into energy to produce cement, rather than ending up in a landfill.”

Nobody wants plastics littering the universe. And it obviously takes more effort to both pick up plastic litter and create a plastics recycling program than it does to ban plastic bottles. But the more complicated truth is that we do have options and choices that don’t have to divide our community.

Mickey Friedman
Great Barrington