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5 Recycling Myths Busted

Updated: Mar 4, 2019

What really happens to all the stuff you put in those blue bins?


National Geographic

By Brian Clark Howard


Last Earth Day, I published a column in the Washington Post on common recycling myths. I received so many comments and emails in response, often asking additional questions, that I wanted to follow up with a new list here at National Geographic.


The recycling industry is changing rapidly, as are advancements in materials science and product design. The field has an increasingly global footprint and is affected by complex forces, from oil prices to national policies and consumer preferences.


As investor Rob Kaplan of Circulate Capital recently told National Geographic, “There's no silver bullet to stop plastic pollution. We're not going to be able to recycle our way out of the problem, and we're not going to be able to reduce our way out of the problem.” We have to pursue both those tracks while seeking new solutions at the same time, Kaplan noted, which is why his firm is raising tens of millions of dollars to invest in new litter cleanup efforts in the developing world...


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