"United Nations Seems to Boost Plastics Industry Interests, Critics Say"

"Ahead of a groundbreaking treaty to reduce plastic pollution, a group of independent scientists fear that the United Nations is legitimizing industry-backed proposals such as chemical recycling."

"The plastic crisis has grown exponentially. Despite marketing claims, less than 10% of the plastic waste from recent decades has been recycled. The rest gets incinerated, is buried in landfills or piles up as litter on land and in the water.

Today, it is widely acknowledged that everything about plastic — from extracting fossil fuels to make it, to manufacturing products that use it, to disposing of it — can seriously harm public health and the environment. Plastics are a growing driver of climate change. As growth in renewable energy threatens the rule of fossil fuels, that industry is clinging to the creation of new plastics as its Plan B.

Now, the plastics industry faces a new threat. World officials will gather at a United Nations meeting in November to start negotiating the text of the first legally binding treaty on plastics. A final version is expected next year. If the agreement limits plastic production or use, the implications for the businesses that rely on it could be enormous.

So it wasn’t a surprise when those businesses sought to influence the discussion. But what has been jarring to environmental advocates and scientific researchers is who has been there to boost the Big Plastic platform: the United Nations itself, along with other globally respected groups."

Lisa Song reports for ProPublica September 19, 2023.

Source: ProPublica, 09/21/2023