Good Rolling Stone article on the deluge of plastics leaking into our food, water, and air.
Since 1950, the world has created 6.3 trillion kilograms of plastic waste — and 91 percent has never been recycled even once. More than half the plastic now on Earth has been created since 2002, and plastic pollution is on pace to double by 2030.
The Petroleum Connection
At its root, the global plastics crisis is a product of our addiction to fossil fuels. The private profit and public harm of the oil industry is well understood: Oil is refined and distributed to consumers, who benefit from gasoline’s short, useful lifespan in a combustion engine, leaving behind atmospheric pollution for generations. But this same pattern — and this same tragedy of the commons — is playing out with another gift of the oil-and-gas giants, whose drilling draws up the petroleum precursors for plastics. These are refined in industrial complexes and manufactured into bottles, bags, containers, textiles, and toys for consumers who benefit from their transient use — before throwing them away.
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