The American Chemistry Council issued a response to California’s probe of oil Industry’s misinformation campaign to perpetuate the recycling myth.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta launched an unprecedented investigation into the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries – not for their role in the climate change crisis, but “for their role in causing and exacerbating the global plastics pollution crisis.”
On April 29, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued a statement saying “misleading portrayals of our industry and misguided initiatives” are impeding progress. The ACC Vice President argued, “Plastics are crucial to achieving California’s sustainability goals.”
Bonta, on the other hand, disagrees. “For more than half a century, the plastics industry has engaged in an aggressive campaign to deceive the public, perpetuating a myth that recycling can solve the plastics crisis,” said Bonta in a press release.
“The truth is: The vast majority of plastic cannot be recycled, and the recycling rate has never surpassed 9%.”
Based on reports from PBS Frontline and NPR, Bonta stated that industry executives in the ‘70’s had full knowledge that recycling was difficult to achieve not economically viable.
The probe will determine the industry’s role in spreading misinformation about recycling and whether any state laws were violated by those actions.
Bonta criticised fossil fuel and petrochemicals companies for investing an additional $208 billion to increase plastic production globally, pointing out that an expansion in production runs counter to attempts to address the climate crisis by transitioning to green energy.
In the ACC statement, Baca listed ways plastics support sustainability goals.
“Plastics improve our cars’ fuel efficiency, reduce our homes’ heating and cooling needs, enable solar panels and wind energy, and prevent food waste,” said Baca.
“Rather than losing time and resources responding to misleading portrayals of our industry and misguided initiatives that delay real progress, we want to remain focused on ongoing efforts to improve plastics recycling and provide meaningful results.”
An estimated eight million tonnes of plastics enter the ocean every year, but it is not the only place is can be found. Plastic has been found in food, fish and even human blood.