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A New, Massive Plastics Plant in Southwest Pennsylvania Barely Registers Among Voters

By Emma Ricketts Photo: Emma Ricketts

Environmentalists in Beaver County alarmed by harmful emissions from the plant once it opens say they are discouraged by most voters’ inattention, but not deterred.


Most Home ‘Compostable’ Plastic Doesn’t Actually Break Down, Study Finds

By Angely Mercado

Seemingly every corner of our world is now littered with plastics, and only a tiny percentage of it is ever recycled. To mitigate this, many companies are offering items labeled as “compostable” or “biodegradable” plastic—but as new research finds, those may be a misnomers.


Global Brands Pledged to Curb Their Plastic Addiction. Last Year Shows Their Promises Don’t Add Up

By Alejandro De La Garza Photo: Roberto Machado Noa, Getty Images

Multinational corporations are failing to reduce their use of plastics fast enough, according to a report released today, despite having pledged to use only reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by 2025.


Recycling, Like Everything Else, Needs an Upgrade

By Mitch Ratcliffe

Much has been written about last week’s Greenpeace report decrying the state of plastic recycling. Our recycling system is not just broken but considered a joke, a defeatist view that will cost us in the long run if we abandon the idea of recycling. Indeed, at a meeting of climate professionals in Seattle last week, several people told me “recycling is a lie.” Greenpeace is correct — plastic recycling rates have fallen — but we risk turning a necessary step in the circular economy into a lost cause by making fatalistic and premature conclusions.


Only 5% of plastic waste generated by US last year was recycled, report says

By Nina Lakhani Photo: Karen Bleier, Getty Images

Only 5% of the mountains of plastic waste generated by US households last year was recycled, according to new research by Greenpeace.
Americans discarded 51m tons of wrappers, bottles and bags in 2021 – about 309lb of plastic per person – of which almost 95% ended up in landfills, oceans or scattered in the atmosphere in tiny toxic particles.


Microplastics May Be Cooling—and Heating—Earth’s Climate

By Matt Simon Photo: Alex Aves

LIKE THE ASH spewed from a supervolcano, microplastics have infested the atmosphere and encircled the globe. These are bits of plastic less than 5 millimeters long, and they come in two main varieties. Fragments spawn from disintegrating bags and bottles (babies drink millions of tiny particles a day in their formula), and microfibers tear loose from synthetic clothing in the wash and flush out to sea. Winds then scour land and ocean, carrying microplastics high into the atmosphere. The air is so lousy with the stuff that each year, the equivalent of over 120 million plastic bottles fall on 11 protected areas in the US, which account for just 6 percent of the country’s total area.


California Passed a Landmark Law About Plastic Pollution. Why Are Some Environmentalists Still Concerned?

By James Bruggers Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

California has a new environmental law that’s described as either a major milestone on the road to tackling the scourge of plastic pollution—or a future failure with a loophole big enough to accommodate a fleet of garbage trucks.


Microplastics found in human breast milk for the first time

By Damian Carrington Photo: michellegibson/Getty Images

Microplastics have been detected in human breast milk for the first time, with researchers greatly concerned over the potential health impacts on babies. Infants are especially vulnerable to chemical contaminants and the scientists said further research was urgently needed. But they stressed that breastfeeding remained by far the best way to feed a baby.


The Plastics Industry Searches for a ‘Circular’ Way to Cut Plastic Waste and Make More Plastics

By James Bruggers Photo: James Bruggers

Plastics executives embraced climate solutions at a major industry conference here last week and said they were betting on “advanced recycling” as a green response to the plastic waste problem, despite market headwinds and growing opposition from environmentalists.


A Legal Pot Problem That’s Now Plaguing the Streets of America: Plastic Litter

By James Bruggers Photo: Robyn Beck, Getty Images

Waste packaging from a burgeoning and newly legalized marijuana industry litters streets across the country, adding to a global crisis of plastic waste.
In New York, regulators who are making the state’s first-ever rules for the retail sale of recreational marijuana hope they have answers to limit their state’s contribution to the problem. They’ve been working to include sustainable packaging requirements into the licenses that businesses will need to open by the end of this year.