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The massive recycling warehouse fire is a stark reminder: plastics are a pollution nightmare

A firetruck houses water on burning rubble with a thick plume of smoke rising above.
The smoking rubble of a plastics recycling facility in Richmond, Indiana. | Image: Wayne County Emergency Management Agency

A massive blaze at a plastic recycling facility in Richmond, Indiana, is a terrifying reminder that plastics are a pollution nightmare, one that recycling can’t fix. The fire started Tuesday night at a recycling and resale warehouse, which officials described as six buildings filled from floor to ceiling with plastic waste.

“We’re looking at close to 14 acres worth of plastic that’s piled everywhere,” Richmond Fire Department chief Tim Brown said at a press conference on Wednesday. “The entire complex is either burning or has burned.”

A billowing column of black smoke hovered over the burning facility and the surrounding community. Some 2,000 residents within half a mile of the fire were forced to evacuate because the smoke is toxic….

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