A Word About Recycling - June 20, 2013
As you know, there are a number of different types of plastic, each of which has to be handled in a different way when recycled in order to be usable. Thus an item from a recent Resource Recycling eNewsletter caught our eye.
“An ASTM International plastics subcommittee this week released its revisions to the resin identification code, which will no longer feature the ‘chasing arrows’ symbol, instead replaced by a simple equilateral triangle.”
We find that “The resin identification code (RIC) was developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988 to help materials recovery facilities (MRFs) better identify and sort the resins of plastics containers. In the years since, the RIC has been used by stakeholders across the supply chain to assist in scrap plastics recovery.”
However, “… due to the increasing complexity of the types of resins used to make consumer products, as well as the consumer confusion caused by the chasing arrows symbol, the RIC system is ripe for an overhaul. “
It was found that, “For many consumers, the chasing arrows symbol denotes recyclability, which, in some cases, is not true, depending on the resin and any given community's recycling collection program. But the RIC is integral to scrap plastics reclaimers who wish to recycle collected plastics.”
(Let’s hope they came up with an easily understandable revised code.)
While on the subject of plastics, a couple of short items about plastic bags, the type used in grocery stores. “In Texas, Dallas may soon follow the lead of Austin and ban plastic bags. The Dallas City Council is currently considering a ban on plastic bags used in grocery and retail stores and was briefed Monday on the possible effects of such a ban by the city's Office of Environmental Quality.”
And Dallas wouldn’t be the first larger city to do so.
“Los Angeles will likely soon be the largest city in North America to ban plastic bags. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to sign an ordinance adopted by the City Council that would ban the distribution of plastic bags at large grocery stores beginning in 2014. L.A. County had previously enacted such a ban, as have nearly 80 local jurisdictions in California. “
And still with plastic, we all know plastic bottles and jugs, plus aluminum cans are much lighter in weight than iron and steel, cardboard, and paper. Thus it appears Tennessee is trying to even all that out.
“Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has signed into law a bill designed to encourage the recycling of aluminum cans and plastic bottles.”
This bill, “Senate Bill 941 will permit a solid waste district to multiply the gross weight of any diverted aluminum cans and plastic bottles by three. Backers of the bill say this would enable regions to more easily reach diversion and recycling goals while encouraging the recovery of cans and bottles.”
We find, “SB 941 was originally written to include a ban on the landfill disposal of these types of beverage containers, but during the amendment process that language was stricken and replaced by the triple-counting of diverted pounds of beverage containers. After being amended, SB 941 passed the Tennessee Senate unanimously; it moved through the House with only one dissenting vote.”
A spokesperson said, "We are pleased that the Tennessee Legislature recognizes that aluminum cans and plastic bottles are natural resources that have markets ready and waiting to pay for them if consumers separate them from trash and recycle them."
Till next week, do have a great one...
Gloria and Ollie are local residents concerned with the environment and helping others. Ollie, a retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos. They both received higher education at TxState University and worked on staff before retiring. For questions or comments, please call them at (512) 353-7432 or email omaier@TxState.edu