Is plastic the new toilet paper?

And finally, if we go beyond Earth Day 2021, how about a rethink when it comes to sustainability buzzwords?

Conde Nast, the beauty industry media company, Allure, is committed to changing the labels they use for plastic packaging and sustainability.

For example, plastic is no longer labeled “recyclable” as only 9 percent of the plastic produced has ever been recycled.

Of course, you could point out that there are plastics like PET bottles that are easily recycled into polyester fabrics in the fashion and beauty industries. The supply chains in this part of the plastics sector are strong and Allure should take this into account.

On the flip side, and here’s a fact that goes with the Allure mindset: We only collect about 30 percent of PET bottles in the U.S. for recycling. This is pretty much the best (circled) success story we have in this country around plastic packaging recycling.

Allure also says it will limit the use of terms like environmentally friendly, environmentally friendly, and biodegradable. The magazine said it was concerned that too many sustainability pledges don’t mean much and “sometimes make us feel like we’re taking more dramatic measures than we are”.

The Allure example is only a small part of the language debate about plastics and the environment, but we shall see more of it.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I saw an online recycling panel discussion and again heard the frustration of local governments about product labeling for recycling, resin identification code, how consumers are very confused and, as a result, too much bad material in the Recycling container.

And while we’re on the subject of environmental language, think of the term “advanced recycling”.

It refers to any technology for recycling plastic through chemical or molecular processes that go beyond the traditional washing, grinding and granulating processes that we refer to as mechanical recycling.

But to say that one group of technologies is “advanced” means to me that others are not. The first antonym I find advanced is primitive, and I don’t think that’s the right message about mechanical recycling. Any suggestions for a term for recycling processes that is less valuable than “advanced”?

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