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The Problem with Plastic
Did the plastic industry use recycling to sell more plastic? With the industry expanding like never before and the crisis of ocean pollution growing, FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the fight over the future of plastics.
This Sunday Morning episode, reported by David Pogue, is about plastic pollution in the world's oceans.
Why It Will Take More Than Basic Recycling To Cut Back On Plastic
n the 70 years that plastic has been around, humans have created 9 billion tons of it -- most of which still exists. Are the existing strategies for tackling plastic pollution -- namely reusing and recycling -- really making any difference? Amna Nawaz and producer Lorna Baldwin make stops in three states to take a look at some innovative ideas aimed at reducing plastic waste.
Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet it's become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents. In this independent documentary film, journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover this mysterious phenomenon. Along the way she meets scientists, researchers, influencers, and volunteers who shed light on the effects of our rabid plastic consumption and learns the problem is more insidious than we could have ever imagined.
Recycling Reconsidered by
Publication Date: 2011-12-09
Recycling is widely celebrated as an environmental success story. The accomplishments of the recycling movement can be seen in municipal practice, a thriving private recycling industry, and widespread public support and participation. In the United States, more people recycle than vote. But, as Samantha MacBride points out in this book, the goals of recycling -- saving the earth (and trees), conserving resources, and greening the economy -- are still far from being realized. The vast majority of solid wastes are still burned or buried. MacBride argues that, since the emergence of the recycling movement in 1970, manufacturers of products that end up in waste have successfully prevented the implementation of more onerous, yet far more effective, forms of sustainable waste policy. Recycling as we know it today generates the illusion of progress while allowing industry to maintain the status quo and place responsibility on consumers and local government. MacBride offers a series of case studies in recycling that pose provocative questions about whether the current ways we deal with waste are really the best ways to bring about real sustainability and environmental justice. She does not aim to debunk or discourage recycling but to help us think beyond recycling as it is today.
Private Recycling Values, Social Norms, and Legal Rules
This article uses a large, original data set on U.S. recycling behavior and perception of social norms. The data include unique information with respect to personal norms as well as information on both descriptive and injunctive social norms with respect to recycling behavior. The analysis finds that the legal and regulatory environment is strongly related to average county recycling rates and private perceptions of neighbors' attitudes toward recycling. Average community recycling rates, legal regimes, and perceived external norms are correlated with higher individual recycling rates so that both descriptive and injunctive norms are influential. Households that recycle are also more likely to have a private recycling norm. Deposit policies that provide financial incentives and recycling policies that make recycling more convenient are associated with greater recycling rates.