One of the most pernicious sources of plastic waste will never be welcome in our blue recycling bins because, well, they are supposed to last.

But the truth is that while so-called durable goods, from kitchen spatulas to flat-screen televisions, have a longer shelf life than their single-use brethren, many don’t last more than a few years before they break. And at that point, there are few options but to toss them into one of the ever-growing piles of plastic trash that taint the Earth’s surface.

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