Last week, a group of more than 30 companies announced the founding of a new “Alliance to End Plastic Waste,” but some critics are saying its members are at the heart of the problem with plastic pollution.
The alliance includes Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, and Shell, among other oil, chemical, and waste management companies. The companies have pledged to dedicate a combined total of $1 billion over the next five years (or $1.5 billion if they can attract more members) to research to develop better recycling techniques and cleanup efforts.
According to the European NGO Recycling Network, however, the companies who have signed on to the effort are the same ones that are ensuring the continuation of plastic pollution by investing in the expansion of plastic production. The director of Recycling Network, Rob Buurman, told The Guardian that new cleanups and recycling efforts would be ineffectual in the absence of serious efforts to cut off the stream of new plastics being produced.
The alliance argues at the moment there isn’t a good alternative to plastic, and that replacing it could negatively affect sanitation and nutrition around the world as well as energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.