Plastics recycling is alive and well, despite what you might have read in a 26-year story on Facebook


File it under “Don’t believe everything you read on social media,” which most people should know by now.

I had two people contact me last week to ask about a 1995 Plastics news story, “Clorox cuts the recycled resin in the packaging.” In both cases, they were asking the same question: was it real?

Both callers were interested in investing in recycling for one reason or another. Either way, someone had shared this story with them as proof of why they shouldn’t.

I told them I wouldn’t invest in recycling plastics either (just kidding), but the story was real.

But, and this is a big deal, that was from 1995. The story was about how Clorox Co. and Procter & Gamble Co. planned to use less recycled plastic, charging higher prices and the decline in the quality of post-consumer materials.

So many valid reasons to wonder about the future of plastic recycling in 1995. But not today. Thanks to various factors, including commitments from Clorox and P&G, plastics recycling looks pretty good these days. The best I have seen in decades.

Thinking it couldn’t be a coincidence, I asked the second caller, “Did you find this on Google? Or are people sharing this article and telling people it’s topical? “

You can probably guess the source of the misinformation: Facebook.

I was directed to an article on the Facebook page of Plastic Free Delaware, a nonprofit organization whose goal is “to end the scourge of single-use plastics in Delaware through education, events. awareness raising and advocacy initiatives ”.

Her post included a photo from our story, with a caption: “In case you’re looking for reasons to make your own household cleaning products, here’s one more…”

I added a comment to their post noting that I was the editor of the newspaper they were linked to, that it was a 26-year-old story and that the situation is much different today. In response, the group deleted the message.

Mark one to eliminate misinformation.

But for many people, just seeing the post on Facebook was enough to make them question the viability of recycling plastics. They won’t notice that the message is now missing, and they didn’t bother to click to read the story anyway. It’s a problem with social media. If you think plastic recycling is a myth and see a post that reinforces it, you click ‘Like’ and move on.

And if your main source of news and information is Facebook, you’ll probably never see any stories that challenge your assumptions about recycling. (Obviously, this also applies to other issues.)

I like to think our readers are better informed.

Don Loepp is editor-in-chief of Plastics news and author of the Plastics Blog. Follow him on Twitter @donloepp.


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