Aside from these issues, there remains the overall controversy about the very existence of plastics. Yes, environmentalists would like to see fewer plastics and more biodegradable substitutions. They don’t like how so much plastic is made from petroleum in an intensive process that uses energy, and they ask important questions like, “Do we really need a half-dozen little individual disposable plastic containers in our kids’ lunchbox.’’

But Krebs says the plastics industry is environmentally defensible if you consider that many of its products can be recycled and then used a third time as combustible fuel in municipal incinerators. Furthermore, he points out, you’d want a good solid plastic for your heart valve not one that would degrade, and you probably like how that Trex on your deck was made from recycled from waste plastic.

The key is that it gets recycled.

Plastic “has three or four lives and it can give of itself as energy at the end of its life,” says Krebs. “I say to environmentalists, what other material does that? None.”


WasteWise, an online publication produced by Environmental Protection Agency and related private industries, offers tips for consumers who want to help their city or employer set up or expand a recycling program.

Recycler’s World is a trade publication that can help people or city staff who want more information on plastic recycling companies and need to know how plastic can be sold, re-used and redeployed., a global trade publication for those in the recycling business.

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