What really happens to plastic drink bottles you toss in your recycling bin

By Emily Chung, CBC News, January 7, 2020

The infinite triangular loop of arrows that we know as the recycling symbol adorns millions of plastic pop and water bottles we carefully sort in the blue bin. It comforts us with the idea that each one will be recycled over and over again forever.

But unfortunately, most of the time, it's a lie.

Many bottles aren't recycled at all, and those that do get recycled usually aren't turned into other bottles or recycled again after that.

Instead, they end up in the world's landfills — or worse, in the ocean. In Canada, plastic bottles and caps were the top plastic trash items collected during shoreline cleanups in 2019, just behind cigarette butts. They're also typically among the top three items in shoreline cleanups worldwide.


Connect with us