Plastics Crisis: Challenges, Advances and Relationship with Wastepickers

Five illustrated booklets – Plastics Crisis: Challenges, Advances and Relationship with Wastepickers.


  • Plastic Life Cycle and the Globalized Socio-Environmental Crisis.
  • The Plastic Production.
  • Toxic Additives in Plastic.
  • False Solutions and Businesses that Aim to End Pollution.
  • The global plastic treaty to Control its Complete Life Cycle.

Cartilhas ilustradas sobre a crise do plástico.


  • O ciclo de vida do plástico e a crise socioambiental globalizada.
  • A produção do plástico.
  • Aditivos tóxicos do plástico.
  • As falsas soluções e os negócios que pretendem acabar com a poluição.
  • O tratado global de plásticos para controlar seu ciclo de vida completo.

Cartillas ilustradas sobre la crisis de los plásticos.


  • El ciclo de la vida del plástico y la crisis socioambiental globalizada.
  • La producción del plástico.
  • Los aditivos tóxicos del plástico.
  • Falsas soluciones.
  • El Tratado global de plásticos.

In 2020, GAIA released an alert identifying an alarming trend: legislators were introducing bills to promote the expansion of so-called “chemical recycling” (also known as “advanced recycling”, “waste-to-fuel”, “waste-to-plastic,” “plastic transformation,” and “plastics renewal”), eight of which had been signed into law. This unproven waste management strategy is endorsed by the plastic industry via its lobbying arm, the American Chemistry Council. This alert is an update on that trend, which the petrochemical industry has accelerated. Since our first alert, eleven more states have passed such laws, bringing the total to 20 since 2017. These laws relax pollution regulations and/or provide subsidies for these facilities, with some explicitly defining them as recycling facilities, despite numerous reports from media, watchdog, and nonprofit groups concluding that they are little more than plastic burning. In addition to these threats, this alert contains suggested intervention points for advocates and highlights legislative approaches that counter the expansion of these technologies.

Solid waste management is rapidly emerging as one of the most problematic sectors in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Four case studies illustrate some of the principal problems in the CDM’s approach to waste management: further impoverishment of the urban poor, competition with recycling, and lack of additionally. These case studies suggest that the CDM’s interventions in the sector are doing more harm than good; in particular, the Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) issued by the CDM often do not represent real reductions at all. The gravity of the problem has prompted the CDM’s own Methodology Panel to undertake a top-to-bottom review of the sector. This review, however, is unlikely to resolve the contradictions inherent in the carbon credit scheme.

La basura plástica está aumentando globalmente y según las tasas actuales de producción, se estima que el plástico aumentará al doble en los próximos veinte años. A la luz de la crisis global del plástico, tecnologías como transformar los residuos de plástico en combustible quemándolo, son promocionadas como circulares, buenas para el medio ambiente, y sostenibles, cuando en realidad se trata de todo lo contrario.

In light of recent promotional statements from technology providers, governments, and academic and research institutions, this report looks at the proposed application of converting municipal waste into fuel, namely for gas turbine aircraft engines.

In a world where climate and waste crises are worsening at a staggering rate, the idea of turning waste into fuels might sound like a great solution. Companies like Fulcrum Bioenergy and Velocys have been catching media attention by claiming that they have developed a technology that can produce jet fuels from waste.

As the world’s fastest-urbanizing continent, Africa has encountered major challenges in implementing a sound solid waste management system. The media and some international institutions including the UN Environment Program have repeteadly promoted waste incineration in Africa, without ackowledging incineration’s harmful impact on human health and the environment.