What to do with plastics other than one and two?

While New York City collects recyclable plastics marked 1 & 2, plastics with different classifications tend not to be collected. The article on ‘Extended Plastics Responsibility’ mentions that some cities (including San Francisco) collect all plastics, a process of recycling which is very much a feasible notion. If New York decided to begin collecting the other types of plastics, how do you believe they should go about the collection, and eventual disposal of these materials? What laws or initiatives could the city enact to make this a reality?

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3 Responses to What to do with plastics other than one and two?

  1. R.C. says:

    That’d be hard to say. NYC would have to build a recycling program from the ground up, since relying on resin codes is difficult at best. Their recent act to put the onus on retailers is one step toward recycling plastic bags.

    Nevertheless, a start would be a cohesive differentiation of plastics by both method and material. Start with the resin codes, then stratify the different plastics of the same code. Essentially, differentiate plastics down to the required level, then process and recycle based on individual properties. That guy from TED had a good general idea. More likely than not, it will be a costly and lengthy process to simply initiate for operation, let alone maintain such a facility or method.

    This’ll likely require the cooperation of lawmakers, manufacturers, retailers, taxpayers, and any other intermediary. In other words, it’ll be a heated debate, likely with little headway or Pyrrhic victories. The problem, as it has always been, is going to be who will shoulder the costs.

  2. Edson Flores says:

    The main issue I see is the ethical consequence of what is done in San Francisco: let underpaid workers in Asia sort our “contaminated loads of recycled materials by hand in unsafe conditions”.

    If New York is going to start recollecting all types of plastics, the city should worry about taking care of business of its own. The recollection and separation of plastics should be done locally. Once separated the recyclable plastic from the non-recyclable, then the city could start thinking of where to ship it, it could even become a commodity with a real market value.

    For this to happen, a comprehensive recycling program must be put in place, the main focus should aim to a plastic recycling literacy campaign.

    Hard and inconvenient, yes. However, if the campaign is successful, New York would become a model on yet another front. And that is always in the city’s interest.

  3. Narciso Correa says:

    I think until the technology to recycle plastic completely and return it to an economically viable resource, only collection and storage from different types of wastes is the viable option. I think we should just stockpile it until we can do http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P3aUANOYOI in greater scales.

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