Fact Sheet: False solutions to the Plastic Pollution Crisis

As the global plastic pollution crisis continues to grow, so does industry hype around techno-fixes, including waste-to-energy incineration and chemical processing of plastic waste. Such downstream approaches create more problems and distract from the real imperatives, however, by emitting more pollutants and perpetuating overproduction of plastic. Real solutions to the plastic pollution crisis lie in:

 

  • Producing less plastic. The petrochemical industry will not voluntarily scale back production, so public policies are required. These can include bans on single-use and other unnecessary plastics; a ban on constructing new or expanded plastic production facilities; a quantitative cap on plastic production; and a tax on plastic production.
  • Encouraging alternative service delivery models. A growing number of zero waste businesses aim to displace plastic with reusable packaging or providing services that eliminate the need for plastics.
  • Supporting recycling. To revitalize recycling, eliminate additives, mixed-polymer and mixed material plastics (e.g. sachets); mandate recycled content standards; require producer financial responsibility for post-consumer plastics; and integrate the informal sector.
  • Avoiding false solutions.