Plastics recycling is a reality – it's here and here to stay. Collection rates are rising, the ‘green' message is well-embedded in our think and the naysayers have been silenced. Brilliant!
And yet we still see media reports that treat our recycling efforts as something unusual and this is dangerous if only because it undermines the serious nature of it all. While newspapers continue to run “Wow! Recycling! Amazing!” headlines we'll not be able to present plastics recycling as much more than a novelty.
Here's the truth of it – plastics recycling is a serious business. And yet when our industry is mentioned it's often in combination with marine litter, the bag tax and the like; negative environmental impacts, not positive ones.
I'd like to believe that sometime soon we'll be able to talk about our industry without having to reassure the public that we do take recycling seriously and that we don't go about destroy environments. Sadly, I'm probably going to be rather long in the tooth by the time that days arrives.
That doesn't mean we should stop trying to get the ‘green plastics' message across, it does however mean we'll be banging on about it for much longer that should be necessary. Bad news creates headlines so for every tonne of food saved from spoiling because of plastic packaging we'll get a hundred headlines about turtles chocking to death on discarded plastic bags.
We have science on our side and given time we'll have the public there, too. All it will take is one last heave. On the count of three…