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A Plastic Bag’s 2,000-Mile Journey Shows the Messy Truth About Recycling

When the British supermarket chain Tesco Plc first started ­collecting plastic bags and wrappers from customers to be recycled in March 2021, Caroline Ragueneau was thrilled. She was working as a retail assistant at a Tesco store in southwest England when the first white deposit boxes appeared, promising to turn what’s typically discarded back into something useful. Plastic is a notorious source of pollution: unsightly on land, deadly to marine wildlife. Ragueneau, 56, an enthusiastic environmentalist, proudly told friends about the initiative.

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