Plastic is a real problem for the environment and for living things. While recycling appears to be a solution, a recent study looked at the toxic additives and other pollutants that these materials contain.
Recycling would not be ideal
A lot of waste ends up in the seabed, which poses the problem of its recovery as well as its fragmentation into microparticles. However, perhaps recycling plastic is a false solution. In any case, there is no doubt for Amos Wemanya, head of the Greenpeace campaign against plastic in Africa. In fact, he explained in 2020 that recycling could not treat all the plastics that humanity produces. In a study published on December 14, 2021, the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) further indicates that recycling does not prevent health risks and pollution due to the presence of hazardous products.
As part of its research, IPEN commissioned NGOs to collect samples of high density polyethylene (HDPE). Thus, these associations brought together plastic bags from 24 factories in 23 countries, including Egypt, India, Mexico and Malaysia. But why analyze high density polyethylene in particular? In fact, its pellet form is of interest, as is the fact that it is one of the most widely used types of plastic in the world.
Recycled plastic even contains Bisphenol A
After collecting the samples, study officials attempted to answer a specific question. The question was whether recycled plastics also contain dangerous chemicals and pollutants like non-recycled plastics. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. They found the presence of chemical additives used in industry such as flame retardants and light stabilizers, six UV stabilizers in total.
Scientists have also detected the presence of Bisphenol A (BPA), the most famous endocrine disruptor which is also totally banned in France. However, a 2019 study estimated that the presence of BPA in organisms is 48 times greater than expected due to poor screening protocols.
Finally, IPEN tests have observed the presence of at least one toxic chemical additive in each sample of recycled plastic. Thus, this study obviously raises questions. Indeed, recycling is generally presented as an engine for the fight against pollution in the world, so much so that many policies have adopted it. However, in the end it would seem that the best solution to ending plastic and its dangers would be to simply stop producing it.