As recycling grows more common and popular in the world, more and more people have hoped on the train, including businesses. This means businesses have begun recycling, have gone greener, and implementing packaging recycling programs. However, there are many myths that have formed about recycling. Many people wonder if recycling is even worth it, and even if packaging recycling programs actually work? This question can be answered though, with the simple answer, yes, they really work. When companies make their packages flexible, they are much easier to recycle, and barely any of their material will end up in waste or a landfill. This has led to companies making recyclable packaging for their products. Single layer polyethylene (PE) films can be recycled but are often dropped off at grocery stores. A recycling packaging program called WRAP (Wrap Recycling Action Program) recycles these materials and is available to over 90% of Americans at more than 18,000 major grocery stores. MRFF (Materials Recovery for the Future) is another recycling program that advances auto-sort of flexible packaging. Bio-based structures are another form of recyclable packaging that is made of compostable materials that are easily recycled. Post-consumer recycled content (PCR) allows for the reuse of all packaging to create new packaging with a reduced carbon footprint. Recyclable multi-layer, single material laminates flexible packaging structures that are a step toward more recyclable packaging. All of these types of materials are being used in packaging more and more today, proving that packaging recycling program do, in fact, work, and are completely worth it. Another myth about these packaging recycling programs is that they take away jobs from poor trash sorters. That is far from true. These people reduce litter and the risk of public health, while also contributing greatly to recycling efforts. More than three quarters of these waste pickers are selling their findings to recycling organizations, giving them more money than their actual job. Many even organize and unionize to seek to join established recycling chains. One other common misbelief is that these packaging recycling programs do not matter because everything can only be recycled once. Many packages can be recycled or used to make recyclable packages that can even be recycle again and again, over and over again. This means that the programs are, overall, helpful, and are working because they allow for packages to be reused as many times as needed. Some people are skeptical of these recycling packaging programs because they do not know where their recycling is going. They often think it is overreach of big government, or worst case, a scam. However, the Environmental Protection Agency states that benefits of recycling packaging programs are clear. Recycling aluminum saves 95% of energy needed to make new cans, recycling steel saves 60 to 74%, recycling paper saves around 60% percent, and recycling plastic and glass saves around one third of energy. Recycling has also created around 1.25 million jobs. These programs, these myth bustings, and these facts and statistics are all proof that these recycling packaging program do actually work, and are helping to better the Earth’s climate.

Essay by: Emma Mary Bottoms
Homestead High School

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