Say no to a new plastic rush here and in Africa
As demand for oil for fuel gradually reduces, through more and better renewables and less fossil fuelled travel, the big oil companies are banking on single use plastic as their new revenue stream. As we all try to avoid plastic bags, and to carry and use our reusable coffee cups and water bottles, oil companies plan to spend billions expanding the production and supply of single use plastic from virgin oil, making recycling even less financially attractive.
And it just gets worse. Faced with increasing public concern about single use plastic pollution in countries like the UK and US, the plastic industry is turning its cynical eye towards Africa, where many regions don’t even have refuse collection, let alone recycling facilities.
Greenpeace Unearthed has obtained documents showing that an oil and chemical lobby group has been pushing the Trump administration to expand the plastic and chemical industry across Africa and lift limits on the waste trade. Kenyan environmentalists say the proposals would mean “Kenya will become a dump site for plastic waste”.
Manufacturing less plastic made from refined fossil fuels will wipe millions of barrels of oil from global demand forecasts which have already fallen in recent months due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It could also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions which are estimated to reach five tonnes for every tonne of plastic produced, or 1.75 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
We must keep up the pressure at home and internationally to reduce single use plastic waste – to tackle both plastic pollution and the Climate Emergency.