retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting story in the Arizona Republic the other day about how a Mesa, Arizona, man, Danny Clark, has come up with a way to make plastic bottles biodegradable, which he believed “would reduce the impact on landfills, curb roadside litter and reduce the amount of plastic garbage that eventually washes into the oceans.”

According to the story, this environmental and entrepreneurial initiative “has run into opposition from a large and unexpected source: the $400 billion recycling industry, which fears that making plastic bottles biodegradable will reduce the stream of plastic refuse used to make everything from carpet to clothing to new bottles. In addition, the industry fears that changing the makeup of plastic bottles could make it more difficult to recycle them.

“With plastic-bottle sales already slowing and only a small amount being recycled, the industry is meeting threats to its profits head-on, actively campaigning against attempts ... to make bottles biodegradable.”
KC's View:
File this in the “no good deed goes unpunished” file.

The shame is that two initiatives with positive environmental implications end up at loggerheads, But I suppose that there isn’t much you can do about that when people’s livelihoods are involved.

This will shake out the way it is going to shake out. But one piece of data from the Republic story stands out to me - that only ”28 percent of bottles manufactured in the U.S. end up being recycled, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers said. The other 72% wind up in landfills or as litter.”

I think I’m with Danny Clark on this one.