Cheap Oil = New Plastic
by Jordan Berkley
I was recently listening to a story that aired on NPR’s Morning Edition entitled “How The Price Of Oil Caused A Downturn In The Recycling Business”. The April 3 2015 story speaks to the issue of cost, obsolescence, and sustainability with regards to recycling and oil production. As explained by Stacey Vanek Smith from the Planet Money team, “The price of oil has dropped 50 percent in the last year. Plastic is a petroleum product. When oil gets cheap, it makes more sense for companies to buy freshly made plastic than recycled plastic. The freshly made stuff is cheaper.” (Smith) In light of this problem, we have to ask how we can make the more expensive recycled materials attractive to the cost crazed market? How can we avoid planned obsolescence with regards to new, cheaper oil?