Circular Claims Fall Flat

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Detailed in this Greenpeace report, a comprehensive survey of plastic product waste collection, sortation and reprocessing in the United States (U.S.) was performed to determine the legitimacy of “recyclable” claims and labels on consumer plastic products. The survey is based on conditions in October 2019 to January 2020 and U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Green Guides requirements for product claims and labeling.

Key results of the survey include:

  1. Only some PET #1 and HDPE #2 plastic bottles and
    jugs can be legitimately labeled as recyclable in the
    U.S. today.
  2. Common plastic pollution items, including single use
    plastic food service and convenience products, cannot
    be legitimately claimed as recyclable in the U.S.
  3. Plastics #3-7 have negligible-to-negative value and
    are effectively a category of products that municipal
    recycling programs may collect, but do not actually
    recycle. Plastic #3-7 waste collected in municipal
    systems across the country is being sent to landfills
    or incinerated.
  4. Many full body shrink sleeves on PET #1 and HDPE #2
    bottles and jugs make them non-recyclable.

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