Second Life for Styrofoam

A growing number of companies are protecting the environment -- and profits -- by recycling plastics

"I just want to say one word to you. Just one word . . . Plastics."

That line from Mike Nichols' 1967 film, The Graduate, became a classic put- down of the Establishment, but 22 years later plastics are no joke. Mounds of plastic-foam cups and empty soda bottles clutter roadsides and choke waterways. Though the U.S. faces a staggering excess of all forms of solid waste, plastic refuse is especially onerous: all but invulnerable to deterioration, the debris can last for centuries. What's more, a mere 1% of all plastic waste is being recycled, in contrast to 25% of used...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!