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Adam Minter

Plastic Recycling Is Working, So Ignore the Cynics

Those who call it a myth ignore the facts: The US has at least 180 facilities to reprocess billions of pounds of plastics every year, and customer demand is growing.

There’s an afterlife.

There’s an afterlife.

Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Last week, LaMar Detert walked me through Discover Plastics, his 48-year-old plastic recycling company in Rogers, Minnesota. I was there because I wanted to double-check that it exists.

A few days earlier the Atlantic had run a viral article titled “Plastic Recycling Doesn't Work and Will Never Work.” It wasn't the first to make that claim, either. Over the last half-decade, as concerns over ocean plastic pollution have gone mainstream, plastic recycling has become an object of ire, labeled everything from a “myth” to an outright “lie.”