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One Planet: How To Fix The Worsening Plastic Waste & Recycling Crisis

Unwanted used plastic sits outside Garten Services, a recycling facility in Oregon.
Laura Sullivan
Unwanted used plastic sits outside Garten Services, a recycling facility in Oregon.

On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we're discussing how to fix the recycling system and plastic pollution crisis in the US.

Maine and Oregon recently enacted the country's first state laws requiring companies that create consumer packaging to pay for the costs of recycling it. Several other states, including New York, Maryland, and California are considering similar legislation.

According to the EPA, of the 267.8 million tons of municipal solid waste generated by Americans in 2017, only 94.2 million tons were recycled or composted. Only nine percent of all plastics are recycled in the US annually. What will it take to fix the broken recycling system and reduce plastic waste in the US?


Judith Enck, visiting professor at Bennington College and the president of Beyond Plastics

Graham Forbes, plastics global project leader with Greenpeace

Web Resources:

Beyond Plastics

Greenpeace: The Climate Emergency Unpacked

Daily Democrat: Sweeping recycling, plastics bills await the green light from Gov. Gavin Newsom

Grist: Corporations tried to blame you for the plastic crisis. Now states are turning the tables.

The Conversation: Packaging generates a lot of waste – now Maine and Oregon want manufacturers to foot the bill for getting rid of it

Malihe Razazan is the senior producer of KALW's daily call-in program, Your Call.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.