Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

New Report Reveals How Plastic Polluters Have Avoided Regulation Worldwide for Decades

Climate
New Report Reveals How Plastic Polluters Have Avoided Regulation Worldwide for Decades
A boy walks through plastic waste on Juhu beach in Mumbai, India on June 2, 2018. Punit Paranjpe / AFP / Getty Images

By Lisa Newcomb

Analysis released Thursday of the world's top 10 biggest plastic polluters in 15 countries reveals how major corporations hide behind the veneer of corporate responsibility while actively working to thwart regulatory legislation around the globe.



"This report is a damning exposé of the tactics employed by the plastics industry and shines a welcome light on the shadowy world of corporate lobbying," Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, which supported the research conducted by the Changing Markets Foundation, said in a statement.

"For too long," said Fee, "the true cost of plastic production has been externalized, meaning plastic producers continue to get away with ecocide while waste management companies, consumers and marginalized communities around the world are left to deal with millions of tonnes of toxic plastic waste."

 

The report—titled "Talking Trash: The Corporate Playbook of False Solutions,"—exposes how Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Mars Incorporated, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Perfetti Van Melle, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever deploy "tactics to undermine legislation in individual countries are in fact part of a global approach by Big Plastic to ensure that the corporations most responsible for the plastic crisis evade true accountability for their pollution."

According to Changing Markets Foundation Thursday, the investigations found:

  • Big Plastic is a well-organized network of organizations that fight against proven solutions to the plastic pollution crisis through similar tactics across the world
  • Voluntary commitments and group initiatives from the ten biggest plastic polluters are used to distract consumers and governments, enabling polluters to continue with business as usual
  • Corporations work behind the scenes to delay and derail legislation and ensure they can continue flooding the world with cheap, disposable plastic packaging
  • Plastic producers have co-opted the Covid-19 pandemic and capitalized on people's fear to call for regulatory rollbacks and delays on environmental legislation

 

"This report exposes the two-faced hypocrisy of plastic polluters, which claim to be committed to solutions, but at the same time use a host of dirty tricks to ensure that they can continue pumping out cheap, disposable plastic, polluting the planet at a devastating rate," said Nusa Urbanic, campaigns director for the Changing Markets.

"Plastic is now pouring into the natural world at a rate of one garbage truck a minute, creating a crisis for wildlife, the climate and public health," Urbanic continued. "The responsibility for this disaster lies with Big Plastic—including major household brands—which have lobbied against progressive legislation for decades, greenwashed their environmental credentials, and blamed the public for littering, rather than assuming responsibility for their own actions."

Big Plastic jumped at the opportunity presented by the Covid-19 pandemic—which has caused a surge in single-use plastic consumption—to pressure lawmakers to roll back current regulations and prevent new ones, according to the report.

Additionally, Changing Markets noted that plastic pollution has devastating effects on the environment and is a key contributor to the climate crisis.

According to the group:

"The plastic pollution crisis is a deeply interconnected climate crisis, a biodiversity crisis, and a public health crisis all combined... Plastic saturates almost every surface of the planet—from the deepest abysses to the highest mountains and remotest islands—causing an unprecedented crisis for wildlife... Virgin-plastic production is a major contributor to climate change, generating enough emissions—from the moment they leave the ground as fossil fuels, and throughout their entire life cycle—to use up 10 to 15% of our entire carbon budget by 2050 at current rates of growth. Disposal of plastics through incineration and backyard burning also contributes to climate change and creates a toxic fallout undermining human and planetary health."

The industry's contribution to the global climate emergency is nothing new, but progressive legislators continue to face an uphill battle when it comes to regulating these powerful corporations.

President Donald Trump, for example, has called climate change a "hoax," and, despite pleas from environmental advocacy groups and progressive lawmakers, many Democratic lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—as well as presidential nominee Joe Biden—still do not support the Green New Deal.

 

Urbanic urged lawmakers to act to protect the planet.

"The voluntary initiatives and commitments by the industry have failed," she said in a statement. "Policymakers should look past the industry smokescreen and adopt proven, progressive legislation globally to create the systemic change that this crisis so urgently needs."

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.

A new study has revealed that Earth's biggest mass extinction was triggered by volcanic activity that led to ocean acidification. Illustration by Dawid Adam Iurino (PaleoFactory, Sapienza University of Rome) for Jurikova et al (2020)

The excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the start of the industrial revolution has already raised the Earth's temperature by more than one degree Celsius, increased the risk of extreme hurricanes and wildfires and killed off more than half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But geologic history shows that the impacts of greenhouse gases could be much worse.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coronavirus-sniffing dogs Miina and Kössi (R) are seen in Vantaa, Finland on September 2, 2020. Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva / AFP/ Getty Images

By Teri Schultz

Europe is in a panic over the second wave of COVID-19, with infection rates sky-rocketing and GDP plummeting. Belgium has just announced it will no longer test asymptomatic people, even if they've been in contact with someone who has the disease, because the backlog in processing is overwhelming. Other European countries are also struggling to keep up testing and tracing.

Meanwhile in a small cabin in Helsinki airport, for his preferred payment of a morsel of cat food, rescue dog Kossi needs just a few seconds to tell whether someone has coronavirus.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Rashtrapati Bhavan engulfed in smog, at Rajpath, on Oct. 12, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Biplov Bhuyan / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

An annual comprehensive report on air pollution showed that it was responsible for 6.67 million deaths worldwide, including the premature death of 500,000 babies, with the worst health outcomes occurring in the developing world, according to the State of Global Air, which was released Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
New research finds that dust in buildings with older furniture is more likely to contain a suite of compounds that impact our health. Aleksandr Zubkov / Getty Images

By Hannah Seo

If you've been considering throwing out that old couch, now might be a good time. Dust in buildings with older furniture is more likely to contain a suite of compounds that impact our health, according to new research.

Read More Show Less

Poor eating habits, lack of exercise, genetics, and a bunch of other things are known to be behind excessive weight gain. But, did you know that how much sleep you get each night can also determine how much weight you gain or lose?

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch