Petchems have cynically misled the public for decades about recycling plastic

I am driven to believe that as a race we are doomed. What I mean is humankind is doomed if big business disregards the health of the planet in the interests of their financial profits and to the extent that they will deceive and try to pull the wool over the eyes of the world in committing a campaign of fraud and deception that plastics can be recycled. Most often they can’t be successfully recycled.

Plastic pollution is everywhere on the planet and the petrochemical companies need to step up to the plate and do their bit to save the planet from this crisis which is poisoning all of us and our companion animals.
Plastic pollution is everywhere on the planet and the petrochemical companies need to step up to the plate and do their bit to save the planet from this crisis which is poisoning all of us and our companion animals.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Plastic pollution is almost as big a problem as global warming

Plastic pollution is a massive problem for the planet affecting us all today. Both our pets and ourselves are ingesting microplastic particles which are everywhere; in every corner of the oceans. It even rains microplastic particles.

Centre for Climate Integrity (CCI)

The Centre for Climate Integrity (CCI) website has published a devastating report on the cynicism and lack of integrity of the petchem companies. These are the big petrochemical companies which have perpetuated a myth that plastic recycling is effective in order to deal with the plastic waste crisis that is strangling the planet.

One of the most shocking pictures that you will see regarding plastic pollution. A parent seagull feeding her young with plastic particles. Can you believe that? It's an image which I cannot raise from my mind.
One of the most shocking pictures that you will see regarding plastic pollution. A parent seagull feeding her young with plastic particles. Can you believe that? It’s an image which I cannot raise from my mind.

Microplastics

There is waste plastic everywhere on the planet. Go to the most remote part of any ocean and take a sample and there will be micro-plastic particles in it. There’s billions of tons of waste plastic on our precious planet. We are ingesting micro-plastic particles. The fish we eat contained micro-plastic particles.

People don’t realise it. That’s partly because they are somewhat apathetic about the problem and partly because petchems have thrown away ethical considerations concerning the management of their businesses.

Petchems perpetuate myth of practicality of plastic recycling

The report by CCI tells us that the big petchem companies have been perpetuating the plastic recycling myth for over 30 years.

Initially, back in the 1950s, petchems embraced the concept of the disposability of plastics to open the door to their growth. Plastic consumption increased which led to single-use plastics being decried which led to the need to recycle. In order to maintain growth, the petchems promoted the idea recycling. It was to be a new cure-all but the petchems knew all the time that it wasn’t practical. They lied to the public at large.

Petchems set up the Plastics Recycling Foundation as part of their programme of deception. Within petchems there were two different attitudes towards plastic recycling. Internally they acknowledged in correspondence that it wasn’t practical or feasible. External it was promoted as the fix to cure plastic waste problems.

Many plastics are non-recyclable

It’s technical but thermoset plastics contain polymers that form irreversible chemical bonds and cannot be recycled.

It depends upon the type of plastic. Some plastics can be recycled but many plastics are non-recyclable and there are now thousands of different types of plastic none of which can be melted down together. Plastic degrades after one or two uses. Greenpeace found that the more plastic is reused the more toxic it becomes. The NPR.org website says that recycling plastic is practically impossible.

Because it can’t be recycled nearly all non-recyclable plastic ends up in landfills including contaminated recyclable packaging. A lot of it ends up in the oceans where it poisons the world.

RELATED: Research reveals that each litre of bottled water contains 240,000 nano-particles of plastic.

Ethical approach desperately needed from big business

At this juncture in the catastrophic decreasing health of the planet, integrity and a scrupulous approach to protecting the planet is desperately needed from the big businesses. The public isn’t getting it from petchems.

As a world we are grappling with plastic pollution and of course global warming. The worst plastic pollution takes place in countries like India and China where plastic is washed into the oceans via rivers. There is a pressing need for petchems to be accountable.

RELATED: 1,000 particles of plastic per cubic metre of sea water in Atlantic Ocean.

But it’s the same old story if we are honest. Big business thinks short-term and the objective is always financial gain. Environmental issues, the protection of nature and the planet at large is always second to financial profit. They brush aside the need to protect the planet in the interests of our children and their children. They just don’t care enough which is why I think based upon humankind’s current performance, we are doomed.

Timeline table

Below is a brief timeline of petchems’ fraud and deception on the recycling of plastic. My thanks to CCI.

Petchems BehaviorDate
Petchems sold to the public the concept of the disposability of plastic1950s to 1960s
Petchems promoted incineration and landfilling solutions to plastic waste1960s to 1970s
Plastics industry promoted recycling in response to public backlash1980s
Plastics industry faced an existential crisis i.e. they had to promote the impractical concept of plastic recycling or be bannedMid-1980s to mid 1990s
Plastics industry began a coordinated campaign to sell the promise of plastic recyclingMid-1980s to mid 1990s
Plastics industry made performative investments as part of its campaign to promote plastic recyclingMid-1980s to mid 1990s
The industry continued to campaign despite the demonstrated limitations of plastic recycling1990s
Table showing decades-long unethical behavior of petchems over plastic recycling.

RELATED: Articles on plastic pollution.

Some good news – an example

There is some good news on the plastic polllution front. For instance a new strong biodegradable plastic rots away like banana peel. Some good research is taking place to help protect the planet from this crisis.

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