I was born in the year 2000. Thus, for my entire life, human-caused climate change has been an ever-present, intensifying threat. Throughout my early education, I learned that we all just needed to “do our part” to combat climate change. “Do your part” lessons always culminated in the sentiment that you too could save the cute polar bears by following the motto “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and these were words I took to heart. As an introduction to sustainable practices, this formula isn’t entirely false, but as a greater climate crisis looms on the horizon, we need to rethink our blind faith in this three-step model, particularly recycling. The current practice of recycling (and the industry at large) reflects the flaws of contemporary climate strategy. Assessing the failures of the recycling process can guide us in the direction of a truly sustainable future.