Corporations Tried To Blame You For The Plastic Crisis

If you’ve ever tossed a plastic water bottle in a trash can and felt a wave of guilt wash over you, well, judging by its marketing campaigns, that’s exactly how the packaging industry planned it.

Consider this recent public service announcement, where two uncanny squirrel puppets sit in a tree, watching passerby on the sidewalk and cheering when they put plastic bottles in the recycling bin. A man nearly throws a bottle in the trash (gasp!), but at the last moment, puts it away in his bag to “recycle later.” “Way to go, Mr. Brown Shoes!” one squirrel says. Then a message pops up on the screen: “Recycle your bottles like everyone’s watching.”

This ad is from Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit backed by big corporations (think Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Nestlé) that’s been delivering versions of that message for more than half a century.

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Environmental Groups Call On Big Plastic To Drop Lawsuit

Toronto, Canada – This Plastic-Free July, Canadian environmental groups are calling out the top three producers of plastic in Canada: NOVA Chemicals, Dow Chemical and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil. These three companies are suing the federal government in an effort to stop the federal action plan to reduce plastic pollution. This trashy tactic is aimed at protecting Big Plastic’s bottom line.

“Big Plastic likes to pretend that plastic waste is someone else’s fault: consumers, litterers and municipal waste management,” said Karen Wirsig, Program Manager for Plastics at Environmental Defence. “But the real issue is that there’s already too much plastic and the industry wants to prevent the government from doing anything about it. That’s why our #1 tip to Canadians this Plastic-Free July is to tell Big Plastic to drop its lawsuit.”

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Report: Plastic Pollution Is A Social Justice Issue

Plastic pollution isn’t just a threat to non-human life like turtles and whales. It’s also a major environmental justice problem.

That’s the conclusion of a new report released Tuesday from the UN Environment Program and ocean justice non-profit Azul, titled Neglected: Environmental Justice Impacts of Plastic Pollution.

“Plastic pollution is a social justice issue,” report coauthor and Azul founder and executive director Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš said in a press release. “Current efforts, limited to managing and decreasing plastic pollution, are inadequate to address the whole scope of problems plastic creates, especially the disparate impacts on communities affected by the harmful effects of plastic at every point from production to waste.”

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Kenya Is Not A Dumping Ground For US Plastic

The new administration of US president-elect Joe Biden must resist pressure from US oil and chemical companies to use Kenya as a dumping ground for plastic waste.

In April, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), members of which include Shell, Exxon, Total, DuPont and Dow, proposed investments in recycling in Kenya, provided that the recipient country accepts US plastic waste. Kenya would get about 500 million tonnes of plastic waste exports from the US per year.

Until January 2018, most of the world’s plastic waste was sent to China. Beijing decided that the environmental risks were not worth it and refused to continue.

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Bags And Balloons: Plastic Pollution Choking Sea Life

A dead manatee in Florida was found to have swallowed so many plastic bags they formed a cantaloupe-sized ball in its stomach, while a baby turtle had its intestines perforated by tiny plastic fragments.

They are some of 1,800 marine mammals and turtles found to have ingested or been entangled by plastic along American coastlines since 2009, according to a report from conservation NGO Oceana published Thursday.

The group’s report attempts to describe the cumulative impact of plastic pollution on marine fauna in the United States in the last decade, despite growing recycling practices.

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We Can Still Win The War On Plastic

For many years, even decades, before the current global pandemic, environmental advocates have waged a war against single-use plastic. We’ve been winning that war. More and more consumers are carrying reusable bags for groceries and other shopping items, asking restaurants to use more sustainable materials for take-out containers, and using fewer plastic straws. Homeowners are even rethinking and replacing plastic PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in everything from home siding to piping.

As with so many other things in 2020, the full-out war against plastic has abated.

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Can Cities Go Zero-waste?

In 2003 the small Japanese town of Kamikatsu set an ambitious zero-waste declaration, aiming to be 100% waste-free by 2020. The goal was to produce no trash, meaning everything from food packaging to unwanted clothing to yesterday’s newspaper should be reused, repurposed into new goods, or recycled. Now that 2020 has arrived, we can see the result: In the 17 years since establishing its goal, Kamikatsu transitioned from openly incinerating all its trash to reusing and recycling 80% of its waste.

While the town made incredible progress, it ultimately fell short of its 100% goal. Its main issue? Unrecyclable plastic packaging and mixed materials still end up in the trash.

As one resident explained to the AFP news agency last year, “Our lifestyle depends mainly on plastic. Consumers can reduce plastic waste to a certain extent, but we’ll still have waste if producers keep making plastic products.”

The truth is, some materials simply aren’t recyclable, and only 9% of all the plastic ever created has been recycled.

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Activists Charged With Felonies After Delivering Formosa Plastic Pollution To Lobbyists

Two Louisiana environmental activists, Anne Rolfes and Kate McIntosh, were taken in handcuffs and leg irons from a Baton Rouge police station to jail after they voluntarily surrendered themselves on felony charges after months’ earlier delivering plastic pollution pulled from Texas waters to fossil fuel lobbyists’ homes. The two posted bond and were released later the same day.

“The women are accused of terrorizing oil and gas lobbyists by giving them a file box full of plastic pellets found in Texas bays near a plastic manufacturing facility owned by Formosa Plastics,” NOLA.com reports.

Rolfes and McIntosh are being charged with felony “terrorizing” under Louisiana Revised Statute 14:40.1, according to their attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Pam Spees. The charges carry sentences of up to 15 years imprisonment.

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Is It Really Possible To Go ‘Plastic Free’? This Town Is Showing The World How.

PENZANCE, ENGLAND – As waves crash against the art deco wall of Jubilee Pool in the one of the country’s most westerly coastal towns, Sam Dean is talking about single-use plastics. Specifically, how to wean people off them. Dean is the food and beverage manager of the Jubilee Pool Café, which calls itself a ”single use plastic free venue.” Customers will find no plastic straws, cups or cutlery here.

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‘David-and-Goliath Story’ As Texas Environmental Activist Diane Wilson Wins $50 Million Judgment Against Plastics Giant Formosa

Environmental activist Diane Wilson on Tuesday celebrated the approval of a settlement with plastics giant Formosa Plastics Corp. that will see the company devote $50 million to remediating areas of the Texas Gulf Coast it polluted. U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt approved the settlement (pdf), which was reached in October. “If this isn’t a David-and-Goliath story, I don’t know what is,” tweeted Texas Tribune reporter Kiah Collier.

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U.S. Government Reports: ‘It Is Raining Plastic’

After analyzing rainwater samples collected from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the U.S. Interior Department recently released a study concluding that microscopic plastic fibers have contaminated the air, soil, water, and even rainfall. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, plastic was found in over 90 percent of samples taken. In a recent report titled “It Is Raining Plastic,” the U.S. Geological Survey reported, “Atmospheric wet deposition samples were collected using the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) at eight sites in the Colorado Front Range. Plastics were identified in more than 90 percent of the samples.”

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As The Ocean Waters Rise, So Do The Islands Of Garbage

On 12 July 2019, a twelve-year-old girl from Gresik (Indonesia), Aeshnina Azzahra, wrote a letter to US President Donald Trump. The letter was delivered to the US embassy in Jakarta and released to the press. ‘My country’, she wrote, ‘is the second largest contributor to waste. And some of that waste is your waste’. Then, she asked three powerful and sincere questions: ‘Why do you always export your waste to my country? Why don’t you take care of your own waste? Why do we have to feel the impact of your waste?’

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All-American Torture Camps, It’s Raining Plastic & Oil Companies Dig It

Human rights violations are rife in Alabama prisons – meanwhile, the Alabama Department of Corrections continues to overcrowd these torture centers while blaming mistreatment on staff shortages. Next up, we are effectively laminating our planet in plastic. And while the public recognition of plastic’s evil and long life is growing, there are several aspects of this industry we don’t talk about – and we really need to.

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Activists Deliver Giant Trash Monsters To Nestlé Headquarters To Protest Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution in the oceans is a huge, disgusting problem. Which is why it’s pretty fitting that Greenpeace decided to raise awareness of one company’s contributions with huge, disgusting trash monsters. On Tuesday, Greenpeace activists hauled a 15-foot-tall heap of garbage, artfully crafted to resemble one of those deep sea fish that’s about 90 percent jowl, out in front of the Nestlé’s U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. An even bigger trash monster was delivered earlier in the day to the company’s global headquarters in Switzerland, while similar leviathans cropped up in Italy, Kenya, and the Philippines, Greenpeace oceans campaigner Kate Melges told Earther in a phone interview.

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Microplastics Are Blowing In The Wind: New Study Shows Plastic Pollution Falling From The Sky

Plastic pollution is now the greatest global issue. And a new study proves microplastics are traveling through the atmosphere. In a first of its kind published in Nature Geoscience, the study looked at atmospheric microplastic deposition and transport. Research presented in the study included “observations of atmospheric microplastic deposition in a remote, pristine mountain catchment (French Pyrenees).” Over a five month period, samples were analyzed in both wet and dry deposition identifying fibers up to ~750 µm long and fragments ≤300 µm as microplastics, the study reported. The study concluded “daily counts of 249 fragments, 73 films and 44 fibers per square meter” that deposited on the French Pyrenees.

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