Even before the ban, only 10 per cent of the plastic in the US was being recycled. But more people are saying that has been focusing on the wrong thing. Her eyes light up as she describes what this would look like. The single-use plastic packaging that lines supermarket aisles today could be reimagined: a fifth of packaging could be reusable, like a bottle that is refilled.
And half of the packaging could be redesigned with recycling in mind. Better packaging design will help, but others advocate even more extreme measures. Instead, he shops in bulk, bringing his own bottles and sacks to special stores that sell food and household products by weight. And yet they survived — thrived, in fact. What happens to the milk carton you throw in your recycling bin? Details vary by region and government but often the path is broadly similar: once collected, household recycling is sorted into bales, which are then sold on to be processed into material.
A bale of cardboard will go to a special mill, where it is cleaned and broken down to paper pulp, which will be used to make new paper products. The collection company sorts the items and sells some materials — the ones that have value — on to brokers, or to plants that will do another round of sorting and cleaning.
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The material will be sold on for further processing until it eventually reaches the end customer: a manufacturer that needs the material as a feedstock for its products. Plastics are one of the hardest materials to recycle. There are dozens of types of plastics in everyday use, which must be separated before recycling. After sortation, the bales are sent to a recycling facility to be further washed and cleaned.
This is where the process gets much trickier.
Take a plastic water bottle, which is typically made of PET, one of the more valuable types of plastic. When the bottles arrive at the factory, they are washed and dunked in chemicals to get the labels off, then chopped into bits. A flotation pool is used to separate the lid plastic from the bottle plastic. Three different materials come out at the end: lid flakes, bottle flake and labels. This requires energy to heat the flakes, and can emit harmful chemicals into the air, due to additives in the plastic.
The pellets are then sold on to manufacturers who use them as a feedstock. Done right, this uses less energy and resources than virgin material. But if shortcuts are taken, the consequences can be devastating. Can we turn back the tide of trash? Choose your FT trial. Currently reading:. How can we eliminate the plastic waste clogging our oceans? China recyclers grind to halt amid crackdown on imported waste.
FT Magazine Environment. Leslie Hook and John Reed October 25, Experimental feature. Listen to this article Play audio for this article Pause What was mispronounced? Optional: help us by adding the time. The Question: a solutions-based conversation between FT readers and journalists Do you have any questions for Leslie Hook or ideas for improving the world's broken recycling system?
2008 Chinese milk scandal
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When Counterfeit and Contaminated Drugs Are Deadly - Pacific Standard
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Everyone involved was unlicensed, and the packages were not labeled according to FDA or Drug Enforcement Agency standards. Oh, and most importantly, the drugs were fake. But another legal case also developing now involves a darker tragedy. Chin was the head pharmacist of the New England Compounding Center—since closed—which sent a batch of contaminated drugs to pain clinics across the country in The medication, meant to alleviate back pain, had not been properly sterilized, and when doctors injected it into their patients, it caused an outbreak of fungal meningitis.
In all, patients got sick from the tainted vials, and 64 people died. The compounding center was shut down, and its staff has been under investigation by the U. Chin is the first person to have been arrested so far. Rogue compounding centers aside, counterfeit, contaminated, and otherwise compromised medication is a worldwide problem. In , a damning report in the Lancet announced that a third of all anti-malaria drugs for sale in Asia and Africa, when tested, were found to be either fake or expired.