How Can Businesses Address Non-Recyclable Plastic Pollution?

A growing number of businesses are looking for ways to improve their environmental impact and shrink the amount of non-recyclable plastic pollution in our oceans. This shift is not only driven by consumer pressure and the potential threat from single-use plastic but also by several giant makers in the packaging industry.

The question now is how can businesses address non-recyclable plastic pollution? Plastic is at the center of many global crises, from climate change to ocean dead zones to a worldwide epidemic of marine litter. While many companies have marketed their products as the perfect products for the busy consumer on the go, they’ve failed to realize how their use of non-recyclable plastics can damage the planet.

What is Non-Recyclable Plastic? 

Non-recyclable plastic is a type of plastic that most recycling facilities do not accept. Because it can’t be recycled, non-recyclable plastic ends up in landfills or oceans, where it breaks down into smaller pieces over time—but never entirely disappears. This type of plastic includes potato chips bags, single cheese wrappers, and styrofoam containers. These materials are usually mixed in with other recyclable materials, making them harder to recycle.

One type of plastic that isn’t recyclable includes polystyrene.

This synthetic polymer is one of the most commonly used plastics in the world. It’s used in everything from coffee cups to electronics packaging. It’s not because polystyrene is inherently bad or harmful to the environment—it’s just that it doesn’t fit into any current recycling systems. Polystyrene comprises a styrene chemical, which traditional recycling methods can’t break down. Recycling polystyrene requires high temperatures and pressures, meaning the plastic would melt before it can be broken down.

Related: Recycling Industrial Plastic: Why Is It Important?

The Problem with Non-Recyclable Plastic

The problem with non-recyclable plastic is that it ends up in landfills and oceans. It’s estimated that only 9% of the plastic businesses produce each year gets recycled. That means there are billions of tons of plastic waste floating around in our waterways, oceans, and landfills.

Steps Businesses Can Take to Reduce Plastic Non-Recyclable Plastic Pollution

Non-Recyclable Plastic Pollution

Make a public commitment to reducing plastic pollution.

With the public’s attention focused on the dangers of plastic pollution, it’s more important for businesses to make a public commitment to reducing plastic pollution. By posting this commitment in multiple places on your website and social media accounts, including your packaging, you will be able to spread awareness about the issue of plastic pollution and encourage other companies to make similar commitments. This will help educate consumers about how they can help reduce plastic pollution by purchasing products that use less plastic or no plastic at all!

Reduce plastic pollution in the supply chain.

One fundamental way to reduce plastic pollution in the supply chain is by using recyclable materials and reducing packaging waste. This is crucial for businesses that use plastic in their products or packaging. It’s also essential to ensure that your company’s supply chain is recycling as much of its waste as possible and that you’re getting rid of non-recyclable plastics in an environmentally responsible way.

Implement a reduction strategy.

To ensure that the business can reduce its plastic pollution, it is crucial to implement a plastic reduction strategy. A strategy will help companies to understand what type of plastic they use and why they use it. It will help them identify areas where they can reduce their plastic consumption and places where they can increase their consumption. This can be done through an inventory audit or by reviewing purchase orders from suppliers, who likely keep records on what type of plastics they sell to customers.

Work with suppliers to find a solution.

Working with suppliers can be challenging because they may not be as aware of the problem as you are. However, if you can get them on board with your idea, they may be able to find solutions that will help you reduce the amount of plastic used in your products or packaging.

Measure and report company progress on plastic reduction.

Businesses can address plastic pollution by measuring and reporting company progress on plastic reduction. Some ways to measure and report your progress include tracking how much plastic waste you produce each month or year by tallying how many items made of plastic were disposed of in the trashcan each day or week. Businesses can also track how much-recycled material was used in production processes to see any patterns related to changes in customer demand for products with less packaging material or more recycling options available.

Related: How Can AI Help Clean up Plastics From Our Oceans and Waterways?

The Benefits of Taking Action on Non-recyclable Plastic Pollution

The benefits of taking action on non-recyclable plastic pollution are clear: it’s the right thing to do for our environment and health. As a business owner, doing the right thing is not always enough to inspire you to act. Here are some compelling reasons why addressing non-recyclable plastic pollution should be a priority for any company:

  1. It will help your business grow.
  2. You’ll be able to attract top organizations that care about the environment.
  3. It will help improve employee morale and retention rates—because who wants to work in an office where they’re surrounded by trash?
  4. It will help you attract new investors and business partners who share your commitment to sustainability.


The future trend concerns minimizing the amount of non-recyclable plastic pollution businesses produce. While policymakers and companies can take steps to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills and oceans, there must be a shift in consumer attitudes towards recycling if significant progress is to be made in reducing non-biodegradable plastic pollution. 

Fortunately, this doesn’t seem too far off, with many companies now producing products comprised of recyclable material. When more consumers are willing to recycle and buy from companies willing to adopt environmentally-friendly measures, businesses won’t have a choice but to follow suit.

Browse the I’m Plastic Free directory to discover plastic pollution solutions.


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