Recycling Is an Example of Why People Are So Jaded

We are supposed to believe science. When a scientist says something is so, we are not to question it. That’s strange, given that the root of all science is supposed to be the question. At any rate, Americans are increasingly jaded when it comes to scientific pronouncements. The recycling debacle is an excellent example that demonstrates why.

Recycling has never lived up to its promises. As far back as the 1970s, recycling was supposed to transform the Earth. It was supposed to make the Earth greener, less polluted, more efficient, and economically stronger. And yet, recycling has never produced large-scale benefits. Furthermore, consumer recycling is largely a myth. It just doesn’t happen.

Plastic to the Landfill

If you are old enough to remember when the recycling push first launched in the 1970s, you know it was all about plastic. The world was already quite successful at recycling paper and glass. It still is. But when it comes to plastic, it just doesn’t happen.

According to Purdue University, only 9% of the consumer plastics produced over the last 65 years have been successfully recycled. Most are buried in landfills. What doesn’t make it to the landfill is either incinerated or ends up in the water. That is 91% of billions of tons of plastic. So what happened to recycle?

Simply put, recycling consumer plastics is too costly. Commercial plastics are another matter, according to the good folks at Seraphim Plastics. They say they can effectively recycle commercial plastic wastes – and make a profit doing so. Seraphim doesn’t accept consumer plastics because recycling them is a money-losing proposition.

Here’s the thing: Americans have caught on to the recycling scam. Younger generations still believe it is working and viable, but by the time one reaches middle age, one figures out that it doesn’t work. We were promised sunshine, roses, and unicorns back in the 1970s and 80s. We now realize all those fanciful promises were nothing but pipe dreams.

Follow the Politics

Unfortunately, people are incredibly jaded these days because of politics. We are supposed to believe science, and yet science is for sale to the highest bidder. It is often used as a political tool to buy votes. Can you say global warming?

Public perceptions of global warming have waxed and waned over the years. Data suggests that belief in global warming peaked somewhere around 2007.  Some 14 years removed, not nearly as many people believe in it as they did in the past.

Former Vice President Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth played a large role in climate change speculation. To believe the film, the world should have already descended into global warming chaos by now. Gore was predicting ecological Armageddon no later than 2006. Some 15 years later, we can look back on his work and see how much of the science he got wrong.

The Sky Is Not Falling

Politics being intertwined with science creates some very specific problems. First and foremost, politicians need to create crises where none exist. That is how they stay in power. When they use science as a tool for doing so, they are ultimately playing Chicken Little. If you don’t understand that reference, look it up.

The reality is this: the sky is not falling. Whether you are talking worldwide nuclear disarmament, climate change, or even coronavirus, a lot of what politicians and their scientific advisors claim never becomes reality. It’s just hype designed to push an agenda. As young people grow up and become adults, they figure it out. And then they are jaded for the rest of their lives.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.