Plastic Recycling Schemes Generate High Volumes of Hazardous Waste

No System Proposed or in Use Can Meet Next Decade’s Explosion in Plastic Waste.

Major investments in chemical recycling, plastic-to-fuel, and incineration to manage plastic waste is generating high volumes of highly hazardous waste and toxic emissions, according to a new report released today.

The report Plastic Waste Management Hazards is the first study providing a detailed account of how current investments in recycling schemes, both mechanical and chemical, will have very little impact on a growing, worldwide plastic pollution problem and will increase exposure to toxic chemicals in the communities where they are located.

Resource Location: Mexico

Despite decades of deceptive industry marketing, we know we can’t recycle our way out of the plastic pollution crisis. But the companies making and selling plastic—and their trade association surrogate the American Chemistry Council—aren’t giving up. Instead, they’re doubling down to mislead investors, governments, and the public into believing we can. This Greenpeace report reveals how they’re using the fantasy of chemical recycling to do it.

GAIA has released a new technical analysis authored by chemical engineers Dr. Andrew Neil Rollinson and Dr. Jumoke Oladejo. The report reveals that chemical recycling is polluting, energy intensive, and has a track record of technical failures, and concludes that it is impossible for chemical recycling to be a viable solution in the short window of time left to solve the plastic problem, especially at the scale needed.