Is recycled plastic sustainable?

Posted by Rikke Macijowski Nielsen on

Right now we are seeing a lot of companies changing their products' packaging to make them more sustainable. At the moment, we especially see many products being launched in packaging made from recycled plastic. 
And it immediately sounds fantastic - to be able to recycle all our plastic waste so that it does not end up in nature, our oceans and ultimately ourselves. 
Unfortunately, that's just not always how it works with plastic. 
Unlike glass and aluminium, it is difficult to recycle plastic. Every time plastic is recycled, the quality drops significantly. In short, recycled plastic is what is called " downcycling " (as opposed to "upcycling"), because the quality decreases every time it is recycled. 
This means that in the end we have to dispose of it as waste anyway, because it is not durable enough, emits harmful chemicals or something else. 
Another problem with recycled plastic is that a product made from recycled plastic does not necessarily mean that it does not ALSO contain new plastic. New plastic is often mixed with recycled plastic for e.g. to increase durability. This is a major problem as it means that the use of recycled plastic remains dependent on the production of new plastic. And then the domino effect runs. 
Plastic is a good and durable material for many things, but in our view, it simply should not be used for packaging and other disposables. 
And the long-term solution is not to recycle it - it is to find other alternatives to plastic. 
We fear that the use of recycled plastic is just a plaster on the wound, which should give companies and consumers a clearer conscience. In reality, recycled plastic does not solve the problem - in fact, it contributes to it.  
Fortunately, there are many plastic-free alternatives to plastic - glass, metals, paper, textiles and new biodegradable materials - that have many of the same properties as plastic. And these are the materials we choose ourselves when we make our products for Care by Nature .
We will have to look that way in the future anyway, because plastic will never be sustainable. There must be other solutions no matter what. 
So why not start now?  

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