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Plastic recycling a “failed concept,” study says, with only 5% recycled in U.S. last year as production rises
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Plastic recycling a “failed concept,” study says, with only 5% recycled in U.S. last year as production rises

Washington — Plastic recycling rates are declining even as production shoots up, according to a Greenpeace USA report out Monday that blasted industry claims of creating an efficient, circular economy as "fiction." Titled "Circular Claims Fall Flat Again," the study found that of 51 million tons of plastic waste generated by U.S. households in 2021, only 2.4 million tons were recycled, or around five percent. After peaking in 2014 at 10 percent, the trend has been decreasing, especially since China stopped accepting the West's plastic waste in 2018. Virgin production — of non-recycled plastic, that is — meanwhile is rapidly rising as the petrochemical industry expands, lowering costs. "Industry groups and big corporations have been pushing fo...