Rachel Cernansky, reporter at Planet Green recently wrote that "a brand that claims it is helping the environment by manufacturing recyclable products is not doing much more than greenwashing" (see Recyclable Is Not Recycled: Why Recyclable is the Greenwashing-est Word Around). She gives plastic as an example of a product that is bad before, during and after its life cycle as a product. She is absolutely right. Only about 6.8% of all plastics are actually recycled. With such a small "success rate" you can safely say that in all practicality plastic is not really recyclable. Plastic is only marginally recyclable. In that context, taking pride of the fact that the plastic product you buy is green because it is recyclable is absolute greenwashing. I could not agree more.
However, compare plastic with a material such as stainless steel which is so desirable to metal scrap dealers that they will actually pay you to bring back your stainless steel (last time I heard, one could get more than $0.50 per pound for it), I would say that this is a genuinely "green" argument in favour of products made with such material. Stainless steel is extremely easy to recycle into new products through melting and re-moulding. But most of the time, you would rather keep your stainless steel products instead of recycling them because they can last for such a long time, all your life and possibly many generations and beyond.
Chantal Plamondon, co-owner