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How Recycling Got So Baffling

By Somini Sengupta Photo: Rinee Shah

A few years ago, my kid and I resolved to reduce our contribution to the landfill. As a test, we set a goal to empty our kitchen trash only once every two weeks.


Trash or recycling? Why plastic keeps us guessing.

By Winston Choi-Schagrin and Hiroko Tabuchi Illustration: Rinee Shah

Did you know the ♻ symbol doesn’t mean something is actually recyclable? Play our trashy garbage-sorting game. Then, read on about how we got here, and what can be done.


New Report Trashes Chemical Recycling—It Doesn’t Solve Plastic Pollution

By Lloyd Alter Photo: Justin Sullivan , Getty Images

After the recent signing of an agreement to develop a global treaty on plastics, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) cheered, noting its goal of “accelerating advanced technologies to recycle more of the 90% of plastics that don’t get recycled.” These advanced technologies are known as “chemical recycling” or “advanced recycling.”1


Forget ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’

By Derek Thompson

Humanity’s existential crisis is straightforward. The world is getting richer, richer people use more energy, and the planet’s most popular sources of energy—such as coal, oil, and wood—are slowly cooking the biosphere.
Saul Griffith, an entrepreneur and MacArthur Grant recipient, has a solution that is similarly straightforward. We have to electrify everything that we do. And we have to power the electrification of modern life with zero-carbon sources such as solar, wind, and nuclear. This clean-energy shift would not only power the world, but also disempower autocrats like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who uses his country’s natural gas and coal exports to threaten his trading partners as he wages war against his neighbors.


Inside Clean Energy: Here Come the Battery Recyclers

By Dan Gearino

The battery economy is booming, and with it a recycling industry is bracing itself for a wave of battery waste.Battery Resourcers of Worcester, Massachusetts, said last week that it is planning to build a plant in Georgia that will be capable of recycling 30,000 metric tons of lithium-ion batteries per year. It will be the largest battery recycling plant in North America when it opens later this year.


DOE Invests $13.4 Million to Combat Plastic Waste, Reduce Plastic Industry Emissions

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $13.4 million in funding for next generation plastics technologies that reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of single-use plastics. The seven selected research and development (R&D) projects — led by industry and universities — will convert plastic films into more valuable materials and design new plastics that are more recyclable and biodegradable. This investment advances DOE’s work to address the challenges of plastic waste recycling and supports the Biden Administration’s efforts to build a clean energy economy and ensure the U.S. reaches net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.


California’s new composting law starts Jan. 1. How to recycle your food scraps

By Karen Garcia Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Starting Jan. 1, instead of throwing that container of fuzzy strawberries into the trash, a new law will require Californians to recycle their food scraps and other leftovers.


5-Step Guide to Treecycling

By Trey Granger

Christmas is over and the tree may be starting to look a little sad. But how do you dispose of the tree? Christmas tree recycling, or treecycling, is the responsible way to dispose of cut live trees at the end of the holiday season.


By 2028, Ikea Will Phase Out Plastic from All Consumer Packaging

By Leon Kaye

Yes, many of us have long snickered at the very thought of Ikea furniture and products – as this recent parody bit of John Oliver in this recent Saturday Night Live skit sums up. Of course, many of the snickering among us also shop at Ikea knowing the chances of running into anyone we know in those mazes disguised as retail showrooms are very low.


Big Brands Stoke Cement Kilns With Plastic Waste As Recycling Falters

By Joe Brock and others Photo: Willy Kurniawan , Reuters

The global consumer goods industry’s plans for dealing with the vast plastic waste it generates can be seen here in a landfill on the outskirts of Indonesia’s capital, where a swarm of excavators tears into stinking mountains of garbage.