Plastics Waste in the EU and the US

This week, European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik released some shocking facts about the use of plastics throughout the European Union. After announcing that he is launching a new initiative to help the European plastic industry reinvent itself by incorporating more recycled materials in their products, Potočnik emphasized the importance of a new approach to plastic by sharing that:

-       Only 24 percent of all plastic in the European Union is recycled

-       50 percent of all plastic used in the European Union Ends up in landfills

-       The amount of plastic that ends up in dumps in Europe is the equivalent to 2 million tonnes of crude oil

How does the U.S. compare to Europe? According to the Clean Air Council, 7 billion pounds of PVC plastic alone are thrown away every year in the U.S. Of that, only 25 percent is recycled.

Plastics manufacturers are not the only ones to blame for the huge plastic problem worldwide. Each of us has personal responsibility for the issue. It's our demand for convenient, durable products that drives the production of consumer plastic products, and the waste produced from many of these plastic goods is almost unfathomable.

For example, the Clean Air Council reports that the paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons that Americans alone throw away each year could circle the Equator 300 times.

Both the news from Europe and these facts from here at home are a powerful reminder of the importance of greening your kitchen and living a paperless, plastic-less lifestyle.

Paperless Kitchen wants to know, "How are you working toward building a greener home by cutting back on paper and plastic use?"

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