Plastic or no plastic? Take a stand with us!!

Poultry Cartons has chosen not to carry plastic egg cartons. Not now. Not ever. There is a lot of misleading information when it comes to plastic. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to understand what it means. It can also be very misleading when you hear or read it was made from pet plastic so it can be recycled. Let’s unpack this information!

Unpacking a bag

Yes, some plastics can be recycled. This is not a lie. Keep reading. The current problem with recycling plastics in the United States is that our recycling system is broken. BROKEN. Please read that again. BROKEN. China gets a bad rap in a lot of ways but this is where China was our hero. China used to take all of our recycling and repurpose it into so many other things. However, back in 2018 China said we have had enough and they quit taking our recycling. This is called the ‘National Sword Policy’. It sent the US into a frenzy.

Large amount of recycling sitting

China quit taking our items and now we are left with a very broken recycling system in the United States. We, as a nation, tried sending our recycling to other countries. That worked for little to no time.  Most plastics that can be recycled are not recycled here. They are recyclable in other countries just not the United States. Why? For many reasons.

Cargo containers on sea shipment boat

Current recycling centers and businesses give a list of what can be recycled. We put all of our recycling goods on that list into our recycling bins. The items are picked up and transported to be sorted at the facilities. This is where things go downhill…

Plastic packaged for recycling

Most plastics are contaminated and cannot be reused again. Where do they end up? Our landfills and oceans. I am sure you have heard this before. To put things into perspective only 10% of plastics are currently being recycled. 10%. European countries are recycling 35%-40% of their plastics.

Trash and recycling in water and on land

The honest truth about plastic is this- virgin plastic is much easier to produce than breaking down used plastic. Virgin plastic is also WAY cheaper to produce than buying recycled plastic and breaking it down. There are about 20 different varieties of plastic that exist. They each have different ways to be broken down. The recycling company must know the type of plastic but also have a secondary use for the plastic once it is broken down. This is where things typically go dormant when it comes to recycling plastic.

If the plastic can be recycled and is actually recycled after 2-3 times of being recycled its time being recycled is done. It can no longer be recycled again so plastic is still left. It ends up in our landfills and oceans. Unfortunately, these landfills are producing carbon dioxide, methane, volatile organic compounds and other hazardous pollutants into the air.

Trash in ocean

You now have the background of plastic. Let’s talk paper pulp!

Paper pulp consist of recycled paper materials and sometimes virgin paper. It can also contain some other fibers to help strengthen the material. It is put into a big oversized blender with water and a glue substance to help keep it together and give it a smooth finish. All ingredients within the paper pulp can be broken down and recycled again for the next paper item. After about 5-7 times of being repurposed the grains of the pulp become too small to use. By this point the paper products can be composted (put back into the earth for beneficial purposes). Paper processing facilities do not emit all the toxic pollutants into the air. It is truly a win win for mother earth.

Forest of trees

If you choose not to recycle with the recycling center for paper pulp egg cartons there are many upcycle uses that can be done. Seed starters, arts and crafts, stem projects at schools are just a few of the ways you can do your part with recycling them!

Egg carton used for a succulent planter in black egg carton
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