By Sarah Lozanova, Sustainability Writer
Every year, Americans dispose of billions of plastic bottles each year. On the surface, plastic bottle recycling in the United States looks like an excellent way to reduce waste and prevent the extraction of virgin materials. Curbside recycling programs span the United States and have become a staple in the waste management. In fact, plastic bottle recycling rates by weight have increased for the last 25 years consecutively. In 2014, the total weight of plastics collected for recycling grew by 3.3 percent or 97 million pounds. This seems like good news for the environment and our local cities and towns, but is it?
Although recycling programs are widespread, a mere 23 percent of disposable water bottles are actually recycled. While the weight of recycled plastic has grown for 25 years, so has the population in the United States. Here are three popular myths about recycling plastic bottles, along with an explanation of the real deal.