Three years ago, the UN declared plastic pollution a global crisis, more than three decades after the discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch--a collection of marine debris 2x the size of Texas. The Year 2020 was supposed to be a watershed moment for the plastic industry after dozens of state and local policymakers planned to make the ultimate shift away from plastics. They clearly underestimated the sheer tenacity of the plucky industry and a global pandemic.
The plastic industry has quickly seized the unexpected opportunity provided by the Covid-19 pandemic and an indulgent government to push back on plastic bans.
The plastics and petrochemicals sector received a much-needed shot in the arm after the Trump administration gave it an ‘open license to pollute’ after relaxing tough environmental laws and fines for environmental pollution during the COVID-19 crisis.
But maybe they have done the victory lap too soon, and the Trump bonanza will be hardly enough to overcome a much bigger existential crisis.
The demise of the shale and fracking boom that has been powering a plastics renaissance is beginning to take a heavy toll on the plastics sector as well.
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