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The Fundamental Problem

July 10, 2022

The government of Canada recently announced a ban on single-use plastic products. The ban covered grocery bags, straws, foam take-out containers, cutlery, and can rings. All of these products have been the subject of negative publicity. All of them have non-plastic alternatives.

The fundamental problem is the attempt to recycle low-value products. After all, they were intended to be disposable, and designed for lowest cost. Indeed, one shopping bag is not a problem, but millions of bags are a problem. A ban is a reasonable solution.

These products are not accepted by most city recycling programs, although the policy varies somewhat from city to city.

The products are difficult to recycle, for a variety of reasons. They typically contain only a small amount of plastic. The material may be multi-layer. The product may be contaminated with food, meaning that it must be cleaned as part of the recycling process.

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