NPR Planet Money recently aired a podcast challenging the value of recycling, particularly recycling plastic bottles. The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) and the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) jointly wrote and published a blog, highlighting the misinformation conveyed in the podcast.
Following is the content of that blog:
Most people in the recycling community know that recycling is alive and well in the United States. Although there are current adjustments due to the actions of China, there are markets for recycled plastics. Domestic markets for materials may have shifted from historical buyer relationships to new potential customers. China’s actions have also presented accelerated opportunities for recycling education and program improvements. This is not just a cup half full motivated by denial—it is a matter of facts.
Many of the mass media pieces that we have seen or heard—and this now includes NPR’s Planet Money podcast (episode 926)—have featured the proverbial Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling. Yes, bad news is always so much more engaging than good news, and yes, if one major media outlet presents claims that the public is wasting its time recycling, that recycling is in fact harmful to the environment, then other media outlets don’t want to be left out.
But we have a proposal to make: how about reporting the facts and the truth instead? The truth is plenty interesting and exciting, and presents an important opportunity for leadership and pushing back at “fake news.” Alas, recycling now has its own fake news circuit and, unfortunately, NPR Planet Money has contributed to it.
Some of the “facts” reported on the NPR podcast versus the accurate facts: