Why have we all been recycling plastic for 40 years? : Planet Money : NPR

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Plastic piles up at Garten Services in Salem, Oregon.

Laura Sullivan/NPR


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Laura Sullivan/NPR

Plastic piles up at Garten Services in Salem, Oregon.

Laura Sullivan/NPR

Last year, Planet Money ran a show about why it doesn’t make sense economically and, heartbreakingly, even environmentally to recycle plastic. But if recycling most plastic is not working now… and it didn’t work 30 years ago when the numbers and arrows first popped up… did it ever work? And why did it take us so long to learn the truth? Today on the show, NPR reporter Laura Sullivan, with the support of PBS’s Frontline, sets out to find out who is responsible.

And what she finds is a paper trail… crinkled up documents… (that apparently did not get recycled)… long forgotten in old boxes. And the trail leads… well… to a guy on a beach in Florida.

Music: “Show Me The Way” and “Light The Fire Up.”

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