(2020-09-13) How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled. Industry documents from this time show that just a couple of years earlier, starting in 1989, oil and plastics executives began a quiet campaign to lobby almost 40 states to mandate that the symbol appear on all plastic — even if there was no way to economically recycle it

back in the late 1980s, and back then, plastic was in a crisis. There was too much plastic trash. The public was getting upset.

So began the plastics industry's $50 million-a-year ad campaign promoting the benefits of plastic.

"This advertising was motivated first and foremost by legislation and other initiatives that were being introduced in state legislatures and sometimes in Congress," Freeman says, "to ban or curb the use of plastics because of its performance in the waste stream."

Plastic today is harder to sort than ever: There are more kinds of plastic, it's cheaper to make plastic out of oil than plastic trash and there is exponentially more of it than 30 years ago.


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