The Plastics Crisis

A brief overview of the plastics crisis: the issues and facts and some of the fav articles, videos and podcasts for you to reference.


RecycleBC accepts "rigid plastic" like plastic jugs, bottles, jars and clamshells which is a significant but partial representation of all plastic products. And of "rigid plastic" only 56% is recovered.

RecycleBC 2019 Annual Report


"Flexible plastic" like shopping and bread bags is ONLY accepted at depots which probably explains why they only recover a bit more than 20% of this type of plastic.

RecycleBC 2019 Annual Report


At the end of the day only 9% of all plastics is being recycled. This means we being consumers, manufacturers, policy makers and distributors are less than 10% effective in managing this as a sustainable resource. Huge potential!

With only 9% of all plastics being recycled, the truth about what happens when you spend all that time recycling is anything but the truth.

Marketplace journalists go undercover overseas and pose as recycling brokers to expose the lucrative plastic recycling business. They reveal that Malaysian companies are willing to break the law to buy Canadian plastic and show how some of it is dumped and burned in illegal landfills, where the toxic fumes and run-off appear to be making people sick. Back in Canada, CBC bought nine tonnes of plastic and secretly track where big companies in Vancouver are taking it.

NPR logo

Last year, Planet Money ran a show about why it doesn't make sense economically and, heartbreakingly, even environmentally to recycle plastic. But if recycling most plastic is not working now — and if it didn't work 30 years ago when the numbers and arrows first popped up — did it ever work?

Listen here

On more than one occasion we have found the following product suggestions you can consider to curb single-plastic use.

Bring your own coffee cup when ordering that espresso to go.

Say no to plastic bags. Always carry a reusable bag in your car.

Switch from shower gel and soap in a dispenser to bar soap.

Instead of single-use tampons and pads, consider menstrual cups, period underwear and washable cotton pads and liners.

Choose a toothbrush that is made from sustainable, compostable materials, such as bamboo.

Avoid cling wrap. There are many alternatives to plastic cling wrap. Store and pack food in reusable containers is a great start.

More updates coming soon.