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Less than 6% of plastic waste in the US was recycled in 2021

Less than 6% of household plastic waste was recycled in the United States last year, according to the US division of Greenpeace. In general, plastic recycling is a myth used by oil corporations and industrial giants, experts said.

The organization’s report says that over the past year, American households threw away approximately 51 million tons of polymer waste, of which only 2.4 million were recycled.

This figure is below the level of 9.5% reached in 2014 and 8.7% in 2018. At the same time, most of this waste was declared as recycled. In fact, they were sent to China or Southeast Asia, and there they were burned or simply thrown into landfills.

The paper also states that HDPE and PET plastic containers alone are widely accepted by 375 recycling plants in the US. As for other plastics, most of them are never disposed of properly, even though citizens throw them in special trash cans.

According to the definitions set out in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Economics of Plastics (EMF NPE) initiative, an item must be 30 percent recycled in order to be classified as “recyclable.” However, the most common plastics in the US, PET and HDPE, are recycled at 20.9% and 10.3%, respectively. All other plastics lag even further behind, with recycling rates of less than 5%.