Separating fact from convenient fiction — does recycling actually help the climate?

The iconic triangular recycling symbol isn’t trademarked, enabling anyone to print it on their products — regardless of whether they are recyclable. (Photo: iStock)
Cameron Sabet, Alessandro Hammond and Sophia Kianni – 15 Feb 2024

Has the phrase ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ grabbed your attention? The concept of recycling seems to be at the heart of every conversation around climate action. But a lot of misconceptions hover around the recycling process, which may lead you to believe you’re making a bigger positive impact on the environment than you truly are. Here, we debunk five common misconceptions about recycling, starting from the belief that plastic can be recycled indefinitely to the assumption that any item bearing the three-arrow symbol is recyclable where you live. Our goal is to guide you toward better decision-making both as a consumer and a voter…