The Myth of Single-use Plastic Recycling

A shocking new Greenpeace report reveals that most types of single-use plastic — cannot be recycled in the United States.

Target is selling you products that are labeled as recyclable, but in fact, are not. Their labels are misleading, and often incorrect. Learn how you can help hold retailers accountable.

Pants of fire: false recyclability claims

The Myth of Single-use Plastic Recycling 

9% of all the plastic is recycled, and consumers can only look at their city or waste haulers’ website to see if an item is collected. What consumers can’t check on, is whether that plastic item goes from the sortation facility to landfill, to incineration, or is exported — instead of being recycled.

Since then, a shocking new Greenpeace report has revealed that most types of single-use plastic — cannot be recycled in the United States. Despite the widespread use of “recycling” symbols and marketing aimed at convincing us that it is okay to use throwaway plastic, only plastic #1 and #2 bottles and jugs meet the minimum legal standard to be labeled recyclable.

What that means for the dutiful recycler is that most of those plastic items you are encouraged to wash, sort, and put in blue bins — the ones numbered 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 — are usually ending up in landfills or incinerators, if not polluting the environment. And of course, we know very well that what gets burned or landfilled ends up contaminating our environment too, with toxic chemicals ending up in the soil we grow our food, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.


The plastic recycling myth

You can get involved right now. Big retailers like Target are influential. As a customer, you have the unique ability to drive change and hold Target accountable for their misleading labeling. Greenpeace is asking Target to review their labeling, remove any false or deceptive labels from their products, and publicly commit to phasing out single-use plastic throughout their stores. Now is your chance to use your power to drive change.

It’s time for Target and every other retailer to understand that the recycling labels of the products currently sold at their stores are misleading and often incorrect for millions of their customers. We need your help to expose the reality that recycling is not the solution to this single-use plastic crisis

Will you start by checking out our exciting new toolkit? 

To see the Greenpeace report that explains how many plastics cannot be recycled, click here.

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