UT Dallas Magazine

Recycling’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’

North Texas NPR affiliate KERA-FM called on Dr. Bruce Novak, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, to talk about the impact plastics have on the environment.

Novak, a polymer chemist, has been studying plastic materials for more than 30 years. He said that while the versatile properties of plastics make them ubiquitous, their durability also makes recycling a challenge.

“Here’s the dirty little secret about recycling plastics: Of all the recyclable plastics that are collected, only 14 percent are actually put into a recycle stream,” Novak told “All Things Considered” host Justin Martin. “The rest are either burned, end up in our environment or in landfills. That is staggering, and I think heartbreaking to conscientious consumers out there that take the time to clean and dispose of the recycles in a very important way.”

Listen to the interview.

Dr. Bruce Novak (left) speaks with radio host Justin Martin.