Blog written by Jessica Jane Robinson

Have you ever been confused by the recycling triangle?

Recycle triangle

We have been told that the recycling triangle means a product can be recycled.

Yet we hear a different story from recycling experts and our garbage haulers about the recyclability of certain products being sold and marketed as recyclable?

The truth is now a days the recycling triangle has become a common label that is placed on products freely, holding little weight of truth, in some cases and misguiding the public. Misguiding the public has become a common practice among manufacturers, who are jumping on the Go Green movement, and committing what is called Green Washing and what I would call Green Fraud.

This Chicken of the Sea and Arome Lychee container are good examples of Green Washing.

They both have the recycling triangles on them and the Chicken of the Sea even has a label saying, “Committed to Sustainability.”

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The problem is both these products are mixing materials making the product un-recyclable in our current systems we have in place. They are neither 100% plastic nor 100% aluminum and will be a contamination in whichever bale they land in, be it a plastic bale or aluminum bale.

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Contamination in bales:

  1. reduces the price of the bales
  2. hurts the recycling market
  3. in some extreme cases contamination can potentially ruin a whole batch of material being processed to be recycled
  4. since bales are purchased by ton the recycling buyer can also loose money from investing in a bale filled with contamination

Why make a mixed product like these plastic and aluminum containers? The 100% aluminum works for both soda and tuna, as does the 100% plastic bottle work for sparkling water, water, juice, and soda.

Why would the manufacturers make a new product of mixed material, when the 100% plastic or 100% aluminum products work just fine and can be recycled?

Why reinvent the wheel with a product that is not recyclable and will most likely end up in the landfill, while claiming the product is recyclable?

The possible answers are unacceptable:

  1. the manufacturers are either uninformed
  2. don’t care
  3. are intentionally trying to misguide their consumers to purchase their product based on packaging appeal, regardless of the environmental impacts

This is where we have to become conscious consumers, becoming aware of the problem, being properly informed on what is true vs. green washing, and avoid products that harm our communities and environment.

The tip of the day from me is to avoid these type of products and only purchase products that are in 100% plastic or 100% aluminum.

Reuse and/or Recycle the products at the end of their life and if possible choose the path of Reducing our consumption of products that contain excess packaging.

Thank you for reading and being a part of the solution!