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Posted Wed Apr 22 2009: from Mother Jones:
Plastic? Fantastic
...Inexpensive to make and easy to discard, plastic morphed from an engineering triumph into a global scourge. In 1960, Americans sent 390,000 tons of plastics to the landfill; today we annually trash more than 28.5 million tons—around 11 percent of all municipal waste. Plastic doesn't biodegrade, and the very characteristic that makes it so versatile—its protean ability to be resilient or stiff, soft or hard, opaque or transparent—makes it extremely difficult to recycle efficiently. Even the most common recyclable categories of plastic (No. 1 water bottles, for instance) consist of incompatible polymers with different melting points. In 2007, less than 7 percent of Americans' plastic waste was recycled (mostly milk jugs and water and soda bottles), as opposed to 55 percent of paper. A 2000 survey by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) found that fewer than half of Americans had a positive opinion of the miracle material; 25 percent "strongly believed" that plastic's environmental negatives outweighed its benefits.
[Read more stories about: contamination, plastic problems, plastic gyre, stupid humans, bisphenol A]

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