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Recycling Revolution? Not Quite. Why Chemical and Oxo-Degradable Plastics Are a Bunch of Hot Garbage (Literally)

We've all heard the rallying cry: Reduce, reuse, recycle! But in the wild world of plastic, things get a little...murky. Enter chemical recycling and oxo-degradable plastics, the new kids on the block promising to solve our plastic woes. But are they the superheroes we've been waiting for, or just another eco-myth in the making?

Let's peel back the layers (pun intended) and see what's really going on. 

Chemical recycling sounds fancy, right? Breaking down plastic into its basic building blocks to create new plastic – what's not to love? Well, here's the not-so-rosy reality: it's an energy-intensive process, often relying on fossil fuels. Think of it as trying to be eco-friendly by driving a Hummer to the recycling plant – not exactly peak sustainability. This type of “recycling” rarely produces new plastic; instead, the vast majority produces either an oil byproduct or hazardous waste. Plus, it's still in its early stages, meaning widespread adoption is a long way off.

Oxo-degradable plastics sound even better! Plastic that magically breaks down, right? Wrong. These plastics fragment into microplastics, those tiny, invisible bits that pollute our oceans and infiltrate our food chain. It's like solving a plastic bag problem by creating a million plastic straw problems – not exactly an improvement. The EU introduced a ban in 2019 prohibiting companies from placing products made from oxo-degradable plastic on the European market.

Here's the truth bomb: neither chemical recycling nor oxo-degradable plastics are a silver bullet. They come with their own set of environmental baggage, and frankly, we just don't have the technology perfected yet. And even when it is, the material itself can only be recycled 2-3 times before before its quality decreases to the point where it can no longer be used.

So, what's the INBAR+co answer? We ditch plastic altogether. We use aluminum and paper,  materials that are kind to the planet from the get-go. Sure, it might not be the latest "innovation," but it's real, it's transparent, and it works.

The moral of the story? Don't get fooled by fancy marketing terms. Demand real sustainability, not just a recycled version of the same old problem. Let's work towards a future where beauty goes beyond the surface, for your skin and for our planet.


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