According to another article in the Washington Post, these microplastics are a result of breaking down plastics in the recycling process. In a peer-reviewed study in the UK, involving a plastics recycling facility, they found that 6 - 13% of plastic processed could be released into the air and water. At recycling facilities, plastic waste (usually #1 and #2) is sorted, cleaned, chopped up or shredded into bits, melted down and remolded. The wastewater collected from an unnamed facility contained up to 13% of its total plastic intake. Filtration doesn't seem to be the answer. Read the full article.
Plastic is often touted as environmentally-friendly because it is light-weight and uses less fossil fuel to transport. Plastics don't get recycled; they are downcycled. After being recycled once, it cannot be recycled again. Discarded plastics are considered a worse problem than microplastics from recycling but what is the cost of improving the process?
Steel is infinitely recyclable without loss of quality and separates from other waste by magnetism.
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