We already knew we weren’t recycling as much as we thought. Now we have the receipts .

It’s not just about apartment complexes dumping their recycling into the garbage truck, or Starbucks having one trash can disguised as a 2-in-1 recycling unit. It’s not about throwing away that one plastic bottle because you don’t have access to a trash receptacle.

It’s about a corrupt system that fails us in the first place.

A new report by Greenpeace shows that the labels on “hundreds of plastic products” are misleading, leading us to recycle things that are not even recyclable in the first place.

And no, it’s not about what you are recycling in your bins at home — #1 through 6, and glass, and paper. You’ve been told you CAN recycle them, so it’s not your fault. It goes deeper than that.

The report found that many common plastic items, while plastic, cannot be labeled as recyclable in the first place. Recycling facilities cannot sort, sell or reprocess them. Instead, plastics numbered #3 through 7, if they even make it to the recycling facility, are getting incinerated or being sent to a landfill.

Target, Nestle, Walmart, Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Aldi, SC Johnson, and Unilever have all been accused of using misleading labels.

So basically, if you eat food, clean your house, wear clothes, or shop at Target, you’ve helped big business contribute to this problem. COOL!

ALDI, seemingly, is fighting back. Late last year, they announced:

By 2025, 100 percent of ALDI packaging, including plastic packaging, will
be reusable, recyclable or compostable. ALDI will also reduce packaging material across its entire range by at least 15 percent.

ALDI Corporate

It is worth mentioning that ALDI has never offered plastic bags FOR FREE, but you can still buy them in store. Also, worth noting, will their plastic packaging ACTUALLY be recyclable? AND, “compostable plastic” is not compostable unless it is sent to the proper facility. So let’s take that with a grain of salt until it happens.

This is why it’s so important to cut back plastic waste where you can. If you don’t use plastic in your kitchen or switch to plastic-free beauty routine (yes, even in the shower), you are not contributing to this system.

Your best bet? Reduce your plastic use as much as possible. The oceans will thank you. The recycling plants will thank you. And even better, you won’t be contributing to this extremely broken system.

You can read the entire report here.

Cover photo by tanvi sharma on Unsplash

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