One-sort recycling: going in the right direction

This month recycling is top of mind because we were notified that we will switch to no-sort recycling. I'm excited about that because I think it will bring a lot more people into the recycling process who may not have done it before.  

This one-sort recycling means a change for kitchen design as well  - no need for separate containers for paper, glass, plastic etc.  Remember when we had to separate aluminum cans from tin/metal cans? We are moving in the right direction…

Buying products that are wrapped in PVC --you know, the ones you need a scissors to open and even then you can cut yourself on it--always irritates me because I have to throw the blister packs away.  I like to recycle whenever possible, but according to this article recycling this type of plastic if one quarter of one percent - that's hard to fathom. Here's more information I found on a website called www.earth911.com

Photo credit - Flickr - Incurable hippie
PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) is considered a difficult and expensive material to recycle. For this reason, much of it ends up in landfills.  

Where You’ll Find It:
  • Blister packs
  • Clamshell containers
  • Bags for bedding, medical shrink wrap, deli and meat wrap
  • Pipes, siding, window frames, fencing, decking and railing
Why They Use It: PVC is very strong and high-impact. Along with its brilliant clarity, plastic #3 is also resistant to grease, oil and chemicals.

The Lowdown on Recycling: PVC is not commonly recycled or recyclable, nor is it biodegradable. More than 7 billion pounds of PVC are thrown away in the U.S. annually, and only 18 million pounds – barely one-quarter of 1 percent – is recycled. The relatively new mechanical recycling process known as Vinyloop® technology, developed by Solvay Research & Technology, allows the complete separation of PVC material from the non-PVC materials that are often combined with it.

Need-to-Know Info:
1. PVC requires 20 percent less energy to produce than other plastics. It is also thought to save on fossil fuel use, as its principal raw material (nearly 60 percent) is chlorine-derived from common salt.
2. To make vinyl products flexible, controversial plasticizers known as phthalates are used, accounting for nearly 90 percent of total phthalate consumption. This translates into more than 5 million tons used for vinyl every year.
3. Energy-intensive chlorine production for PVC consumes an estimated 47 billion kilowatt hours per year – almost equal to the annual total output of eight medium-sized nuclear power plants.