To improve our recycling systems, we need to design products to be recycle. But what does that mean? When we say design, we’re not talking about the shape of a product – WE’RE TALKING ABOUT DESIGNING IT WITH AN END-GOAL IN MIND. Currently products are designed for ease of use, not reuse.
THAT MEANS WE NEED TO ASK: What is it made of? Are there additives? How easy is it to clean? How easy is it to sort? How easy is it to recycle?
LET´S START WITH WHAT IT’S MADE OF: Currently, we often mix polymers to create products or use additives that make it hard to reuse or cause it to degrade during the recycling process. WE NEED TO TRANSITION TOWARD SINGLEPOLYMERS IN OUR PRODUCTS – just one type of plastic per product!
WE ALSO NEED TO DESIGN OUR PRODUCTS TO BE CLEANED EASILY, allowing them to be recycled without loss due to residue.
AND WE NEED TO CUT DOWN ON THE VARIETIES OF PLASTICS WE USE:
The more that are used, the harder it is for recycling systems to keep up. Because the truth is, some plastics are harder to recycle than others: we currently don’t have the technology or infrastructure to recycle some plastics, even when they say they’re recyclable.
AND THAT’S WHY WE NEED TO ASK GOVERNMENTS AND CORPORATIONS TO TAKE ACTION!
MAKE NO MISTAKE: our ability to recycle is directly tied to how things are made. BUT IF WE DESIGN OUR PRODUCTS TO BE RECYCLED, NOT DISCARDED, THEN WE CAN BEGIN TO CLOSE THE LOOP AND BUILD A TRULY CIRCULAR ECONOMY.