Netanel Haguy
Ocean Explorer and Marine Conservation Advocate

Debunking recycling myths: Fact vs. fiction

Marine debris. (Wikimedia Commons)

In the era of increasing environmental consciousness, recycling has emerged as a powerful tool in our battle against plastic pollution, particularly when it comes to protecting our precious oceans. Yet, amidst the wave of recycling awareness, several misconceptions cloud our understanding of this vital practice. In this blog post, we embark on a journey to debunk one of the most prevailing recycling myths, while diving deep into the realities of plastic recycling and its connection to our beloved oceans. Join us as we navigate through the sea of information, guided by legitimate sources and studies, to reveal the truth and empower ourselves to make a positive impact.

Myth: “All plastics can be recycled, right?”
Fact: Not all plastics are created equal when it comes to recycling.

Courtesy: משמר הים –

While the notion of universal plastic recycling may seem enticing, the reality is far more nuanced. Plastics vary in composition, posing unique challenges in the recycling process. Furthermore, the availability of recycling infrastructure plays a crucial role in determining the fate of different plastic types.

Source: The American Chemistry Council (ACC) underscores this reality, stating that “Not all plastic materials are recycled, and not all plastic recycling programs are created equal.”

To unravel the mysteries of plastic recycling and its relationship with our oceans, let’s explore critical factors:

Plastic Identification: Unmasking the Codes of the Sea

Plastics bear hidden identities, waiting to be unveiled through their resin codes. These codes, denoted by numbers within the recycling symbol, assist in identifying the type of plastic. However, not all plastic types are widely accepted for recycling, and some may even carry a higher risk of ending up in our oceans.

Source: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides an illuminating guide on plastic resin codes and their meanings. (Source)

Resin Identification Coding System – Courtesy:

Local Recycling Guidelines: Navigating the Tides of Responsibility

In the vast ocean of recycling practices, each region and municipality may have its own guidelines. Understanding local recycling rules becomes imperative to discern which plastics are accepted and how they should be prepared for recycling. By following these guidelines, we can ensure that our efforts align with the broader goal of preserving our oceans.

Source: Local government websites or waste management agencies often serve as valuable sources of information, offering detailed recycling guidelines tailored to your specific area. You can visit the official website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Israel for comprehensive information specific to Israel. (Source)

The results of this year’s World Ocean cleanup dives supported by Mishmar Hayam and The Israeli Diving Federation:

Courtesy: משמר הים – (

Reduce and Reuse: A Voyage Towards Oceanic Harmony

While recycling undeniably plays a crucial role, we must steer our course toward reduction and reuse. By minimizing our consumption of single-use plastics and embracing reusable alternatives, we can chart a more sustainable path, significantly diminishing the need for recycling and safeguarding our oceans from the perils of plastic waste.

Source: The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) highlights the importance of reducing plastic waste and adopting reusable solutions, providing valuable tips to navigate this transformative journey. (Source)


Addressing the Limitations: A Beacon of Hope Amidst the Tides

It is crucial to recognize that while valuable, recycling has limitations. With each recycling cycle, the quality of plastic may degrade, affecting its potential for future recycling. This phenomenon, known as downcycling, ultimately renders some recycled plastics unviable for further reuse. Consequently, we must seek alternative solutions to ensure a sustainable future for our oceans.

Source: National Geographic delves into the concept of downcycling and elucidates the limitations of plastic recycling, shedding light on the complex realities we face. (Source)

Conclusion: Unveiling the Depths of Truth

Debunking recycling myths becomes an imperative endeavour in our quest for a sustainable future. By unravelling the realities of plastic recycling and its profound impact on our oceans, we equip ourselves with accurate information and embark on a path towards responsible waste management. Understanding local guidelines, reducing consumption, and embracing reusable alternatives serve as compass points guiding us toward cleaner oceans and a greener planet.

As we conclude this voyage, remember that recycling is merely one piece of the puzzle. Together, we can ride the waves of change, embracing the principles of reduction, reuse, and recycling to create a lasting difference for the oceans we hold dear.


American Chemistry Council (ACC) – Plastics Recycling:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Kids’ Plastics Recycling Guide

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Ten Tips to Use Less Plastic

National Geographic – Plastic Recycling Facts

Ministry of Environmental Protection of Israel

משמר הים

About the Author
Netanel is a passionate advocate for oceanography and marine science. With a deep love for the ocean and a background in scuba diving, he actively pursues knowledge in these fields through self-education and engagement with industry discussions. In addition to his dedication to marine science, Netanel is also the co-founder of the English Speaking Divers of Israel (ESDI), an organization aimed at bringing together English-speaking divers in Israel to promote diving safety, education, and community. Through ESDI, Netanel strives to create a supportive network for divers and raise awareness about the importance of ocean conservation. He aspires to continue his education in marine science, with the goal of furthering his understanding and contributing to the conservation of our precious marine ecosystems.
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