People are not so great at remembering to recycle in their daily lives. Could we increase the U.S.’s anemic recycling rates if companies were required by law to recycle the products they make?
In a recycling Olympics, the U.S. would finish somewhere half way up the medals table, alongside the likes of Bulgaria, Latvia, and Slovenia. Its rate for packaging recycling (48.3%), for example, is well below world leaders such as Denmark (84%), Belgium (79.1%), and the Netherlands (74.9%).
The reason is two-pronged, according to a new report: patchy quality recycling services around the country, and a lack of involvement by companies that buy recycled materials. Put simply: there isn’t enough money to fund good collection (because municipalities can’t, or won’t, afford it), and not enough expressed demand to pull materials through the waste-chain.