Recycling... and other fairy tales.
November 1/22

NetZero Enterprises started with two older guys wanting to make a difference in their world. Who knew that trying to make a circular economy out of recycled #1 plastic, or PET, would be so hard. I don’t mean R & D, I mean confronting the reality of trying to recycle some of our post consumer plastics, specifically the kind of plastics most of our beverage bottles are made of.

Like you, I was proud of Canada’s recycling efforts and for years have boasted about how clean our country is in part, because we recycle. So here’s a question: “What do you think happens to the water bottle you take to your recycling depot?” The most common response is, “I get 10 cents and it gets recycled.” But where does it get recycled? Can you name one local business that turns those bottles into another product? I can’t, but NetZero is trying to do just that.

So here’s the real story of recycling in your home today. You dutifully take your bottle to your local recycling depot where it gets tossed into a big bin. When that bin is filled, a truck will come along and when the truck has 40 bins they are transported to the lower mainland, here in beautiful B.C. Then they are crushed, then baled. The bales are trucked to another location where they are sorted. From there? Well, that’s where it gets iffy. Number 1 plastic is not easily processed. Under international agreements that Canada has signed onto, our waste plastic will remain in Canada. BUT 160 semi trailers leave Canada each day loaded with plastics. First off this is a violation of our international agreement, but, hey, no one is checking!

We checked with one regional recycler for clarification. The response: “Well our number 1 plastic , non-water bottles are sold to a California company for $60.00 a metric ton. It is shipped to Mexico, because of environmental concerns about potential contaminants. There it is cleaned and reprocessed into pellets and sold at about $3.50 a kilo to manufacturers for extrusion into car parts, clothing or maybe even more beverage containers.”

Obviously, from a carbon emissions perspective, we are better off to abandon our present “recycling” and bury it in a landfill for future mining. Believe it or not, that would be greener than what we are presently doing. Our lack of a circular economy makes our current recycling a virtual fairy tale which is more about virtue signaling, rather than mitigating carbon emissions. As NetZero has asked questions about the possibility of fixing this, we have been told that it is actually illegal, even criminal, for NetZero to locally process a water bottle.

NetZero needs your recycled beverage and clamshell containers, (or a good environmental lawyer), so we can stop this craziness. We hope that through cooperation, we can stop all the “trucking around” and take a bottle sold here, recycle it here, and create new products like 3D printer filament and rebar to name a couple of current projects we are working on. Next time you take a water bottle to the recycling depot, please ask them where it goes. If you can find out, please let us know!

-Grant Bogyo, CEO
NetZero Enterprises Inc