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In the past couple of years, multinational corporations have set targets to manage plastic waste generated from single-use packaging. The goals are similar; McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Coca-Cola and other big companies declare that by 2025 or 2030 their packaging will comprise entirely of recyclable, compostable, as well as recycled products.

What these companies do not declare is that their plastic production is expected to increase by 40% over the next 10 years, and they intend to make a profit from this increase. Thus, the plans that these companies have proposed allow an unstoppable expansion in producing plastic containers. The total reduction in quantity of plastic used is a figment of imagination and the idea of recycling plastic is a fable.


The issue in recycling plastics is the fact that it does not actually occur. For instance, litter made of plastic is not separated when it’s collected within The Netherlands. It isn’t able to be used to create similar products again. For instance, food packaging that’s recycled can’t be used for food packaging. Up until recently, some of the plastic waste was sent to China to be reused. China, however, has a different view of our trash made of plastic.

The garbage flow has been shifted to other Asian nations, but they are also starting to implement restrictions or closing their doors to foreign plastic waste. Countries must deal with their own waste plastic. In the ideal, all plastic could be reused. The idea, however, that the problem of pollution caused by plastic can be addressed by recycling is a fable. In the real world, only 9 percent of all plastic that is used globally is recycled, and a majority of the recycled plastic is not of the highest quality. Recycling is, at present being, downcycling. This leads to a continuous usage of virgin, or new plastic.


In the first quarter of 2019, 30 of the most prestigious industrial companies joined forces to form a consortium known as known as the Alliance for End Plastic Waste (AEPW). In the course of forming this alliance, the companies have agreed to invest 1 billion dollars in fighting plastic pollution. One way in the way that the Alliance claims to do this is by encouraging the development of greater and more efficient recycling, particularly in countries that today, are not equipped with the infrastructure needed.

The oil as well as gas giants like Shell, ExxonMobil, and Dow are all part of the members of the AEPW however, these firms profit from using cheap shale gas to make material for plastics and are investing millions of dollars in the construction of new plastic manufacturing facilities. On one hand, these giants of industry act as if pollution caused by plastic can be eliminated through recycling. In contrast, by saturating their market with new plastic, they undermine the model of recycling, in that new plastics are priced so low the recycling process is feasible only if they are subsidized by the taxpayers’ money.

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Jane S. King

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