Recycling Plastics Is a Dirty

"The majority of the plastics we recycle .. . end up in China, where worker safety standards are virtually nonexistent and materials are processed under dirty, primitive conditions."—Emily Gurnon, a writer and reporter who has written for the San Francisco Examiner, the Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers.

Emily Gurnon, "The Problem with Plastics: Recycling It Overseas Poses Risks to Workers. Doing It Here Doesn't Pay," Mindfully.org, June 5, 2003. www.mindfully.org/Plastic/ Recycling/Problem-With-Plastics5jun03.htm.

These waste reduction strategies have paid off. As reporter Andreas Tzortzis explains, "One of Europe's recycling pioneers, Germany has steadily increased the amount of glass, paper, plastic and packaging products it recycles from around 11 million tons in 1995 to more than 15 million in 2005."36 Germany now recycles more than 75 percent of its garbage, and what it cannot recycle is incinerated in high-tech facilities and used to generate energy.

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