RECYCLING USA
Plastics pollution probe launched in California / ExxonMobil issued subpoena
Claims of plastics’ recyclability by the petrochemicals industry are seeing increasing legal pressure in the US state of California, where Rob Bonta, attorney general in the state, launched a “first of its kind” investigation in April to examine the industry’s role in creating and exacerbating the plastics pollution crisis, and to analyse if any laws have been broken in the process.

Bonta issued a subpoena to US petrochemicals giant ExxonMobil (Irving, Texas; www.exxonmobil.com), seeking information relating to the company’s alleged role in deceiving the public and worsening plastics pollution.

In 2021, US environmental group Sierra Club (San Francisco, California; www.sierraclub.org) had filed a lawsuit in California’s US federal court against several major beverage companies, alleging unlawful, unfair, and deceptive business practices with respect to claims of a 100% recyclable plastic bottle, stating that the companies had violated standards established by the state and the US Federal Trade Commission (see Plasteurope.com of 07.07.2021).

Related: Major petchem firms seek to boost recycling in Texas

Bonta said that for more than half a century, the plastics industry has perpetuated a myth that recycling can solve the plastics crisis, but the truth is that the vast majority of plastic cannot be recycled, and that the country’s recycling rate has never surpassed 9%, with 91% of the remaining plastics waste ending up in landfills, being incinerated or left in the environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Related: EPA revises strategy to improve municipal solid waste recycling

Joshua Baca, vice-president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council (ACC, Washington, D.C.; www.americanchemistry.com), said the association strongly disagrees with the portrayal of the plastics industry by the attorney general and added that US plastics makers are committed to a more sustainable future, having proposed “comprehensive and bold actions at the state, federal and international levels”. ExxonMobil, in a statement to the Reuters news agency, rejected the claims as “meritless allegations (that) distract from the important collaborative work that is underway to enhance waste management and improve circularity”.
10.05.2022 Plasteurope.com [250235-0]
Published on 10.05.2022

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Date of print: 28.05.2022 01:11:08   (Ref: 91260876)
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