A big part of our marketing strategy is to encourage customers to sell us their scrap plastic rather than sending it to a landfill. We think keeping scrap plastic out of landfills is a good thing. We are not alone. As a general rule, most of us don’t see the need to consume landfill space with items that can be recycled, reused, or repurposed.
This leads to the question of whether there is something specific about landfills the powers that be aren’t telling us about. For instance, why do we so often hear the mantra that we are running out of landfill space? Is it true? And if so, what is going on?
Not a Capacity Issue
The specter of running out of landfill space came to be in the late 1980s as a result of a garbage barge traveling some 6,000 miles up and down the Atlantic coast looking for a landfill willing to take its 3,000 tons of trash. The EPA’s J Winston Porter became a rock star when he authored a report claiming the barge’s troubles were a precursor of things to come. It was Porter who decided that we are running out of landfill space.
Though his claims sparked a new movement in recycling, they have been debunked many times by many studies. According to the Mises Institute, numerous studies have proved we don’t have a landfill capacity issue in the U.S. Rather, we have a political issue. There is plenty of space for new landfills but the political will to permit them just isn’t there.
Knowing that we are not really running out of landfill space doesn’t change anything from our perspective. Keeping scrap plastic out of landfills is still a good thing.
3 Reasons to Recycle Scrap Plastic
By now you might be confused. You know we recommend recycling scrap plastic based on the concept of keeping it out of landfills. But if landfill space really isn’t an issue, why not just throw scrap plastic away? We can answer that by giving you three reasons to recycle:
1. Wasted Space Is Still Wasted
Wasted space is still wasted even if we do not have a landfill capacity issue. Why unnecessarily consume landfill space when we don’t have to? It doesn’t make any sense. Continuing to throw away scrap plastic because we can is about as logical as flushing dollar bills down the toilet. Just because we can do it doesn’t mean it makes sense to do so.
2. Recycling Increases Plastic Supply
We keep scrap plastic out of landfills by recycling it. One of the many benefits of recycling is increasing supply. Our recycled products can be mixed with virgin plastics to create everything from plastic tubs to freight pallets. In the end, increased supply benefits manufacturers and consumers alike.
3. Recycling Reduces the Trash Flow
Every ton of industrial plastic that goes to a landfill adds to the trash flow. It also adds to the resources necessary for processing it. Imagine how much work could be eliminated by reducing the volume of trash we bury. If we could substantially reduce volume by eliminating plastics from the flow, operating landfills would require less work and fewer resources.
The fact of the matter is that scrap industrial plastics do not have to be thrown away. They do not have to needlessly take up valuable landfill space. Clean industrial plastics can be recycled by way of a fundamentally simple process that turns one customer’s trash into another’s raw materials. And for the record, that is what we do here at Seraphim Plastics.