Industry group seeks to maintain single-use plastic status quo

by Perry Wheeler

January 14, 2019

Washington, DC – In an effort to preserve their ability to produce cheap single-use plastics, several fossil fuel companies and a fast moving consumer goods company united to launch the Alliance to End Plastic Waste today. The group, which includes Exxon, Dow, Total, Shell, Chevron Phillips, and Procter & Gamble, will look to commit $1.5 billion toward keeping plastics out of the environment, rather than prioritizing the reduction of single-use plastic production.

In response to the group’s announcement, Greenpeace Global Plastics Project Leader Graham Forbes said:

“This is a desperate attempt from corporate polluters to maintain the status quo on plastics. In 2018, people all over the world spoke up and rejected the single-use plastics that companies like Procter & Gamble churn out on a daily basis, urging the industry to invest in refill and reuse systems and innovation. Instead of answering that call, P&G preferred to double down on a failed approach with fossil fuel giants like Exxon, Shell, Dow and Total that fuel destructive climate change. Make no mistake about it: plastics are a lifeline for the dying fossil fuel industry, and today’s announcement goes to show how far companies will go to preserve it.

“These corporations are scared of our momentum and know we will continue to fight for real systemic change, because that’s what is needed to protect our oceans and people worldwide. The same companies that rely on cheap plastics to profit off of countries in the Global South are now looking to build up some infrastructure so they can claim they tried to tackle the plastics problem, while ensuring their profits keep rolling in. The truth is we will never escape this plastic pollution crisis through better recycling and waste management efforts — only 9 percent of the plastics ever made have actually been recycled. But corporations love to use recycling as a crutch to continue production of cheap plastics.

“While investments in infrastructure will help to keep some plastics out of the ocean, the only surefire way to tackle the problem at the scale needed is to stop producing so much of it to begin with. Our oceans, our communities, and our health depend on it. And no industry group is going to stop people from turning the tide on cheap throwaway plastics for good. It’s time for other companies to pick a side — invest in a world beyond plastics, or become irrelevant alongside the fossil fuel companies.”

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Contact: Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace Senior Communications Specialist, P: 301-675-8766

Perry Wheeler

By Perry Wheeler

Perry Wheeler is a senior communications specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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