The suppliers said their products can make an easy target for headline-grabbing criticism, while officials ignore the use of other plastic products that are in widespread circulation in the consumer and commercial marketplaces.
“Just walk down any grocery store aisle and count the number of plastic packaged goods,” said Wolters. “Yet the state virtue signal is to ban healthy, clean bottled water. I hope the virtue-signal banning doesn’t catch on. It’s not the solution. Recycling is.”
The Massachusetts ban, and other restrictions like that at LAX and in Concord, fails to take into account that the problem is not single-use plastic bottles themselves, but rather inadequate recycling, the supplier executives asserted.
“We sell a product that is 100% recyclable,” Wolters said. “My question is why doesn’t the country or the state start to take recycling more seriously? That’s the real answer.”
“Recycling is the key,” Sorokwasz said. “Build recycling centers and enforce recycling. Be like Europe. They have four trash receptacles: trash, compost, plastic and glass. You get fined if you do not use them correctly.”
Cost is one reason recycling isn’t pushed more, Sorokwasz added. “The cost of new plastic is so cheap, that handling and recycling plastic would cost more than virgin plastic,” he said.
IndustryWeek reported in late 2022 that a lack of infrastructure for recycling quality materials and “unattractive” economics to stimulate demand and supply to solve that lack of infrastructure are problems, but noted that the economic case for recycled plastics was starting to improve.
Jan Dell, a chemical engineer who vice-chaired a federal climate committee in the Obama administration, estimates that the recycling industry has the capacity to “process about 21% of the plastic used in water and soft drink bottles, 10% of milk jugs and juice bottles, less than 5% of grocery bags and shrink wrap, less than 2% of ice-cream tubs and coffee pods, and less than 1% of plastic cutlery, coffee lids and DVD cases,” The Hill reported.