Jan 18, 2022 - Energy & Environment

The push to control plastics

Recycling symbol made of plastic utensils

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Eastman said it's investing up to $1 billion to build a French plant capable of recycling up to 160,000 metric tons annually of "hard-to-recycle plastic waste that is currently being incinerated."

Driving the news: The chemicals giant, in Monday's announcement, said that huge companies, including Estée Lauder and Procter & Gamble, have signed letters of intent to use the plant.

  • It's slated to be in operation by 2025.

Why it matters: Plastics are an ecological problem, with waste often ending up in waterways. It's also a climate story because the oil used to make petrochemicals for plastics is a major source of the growth in the demand for oil.

The big picture: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever and Ikea are among over 70 brands to issue a joint statement calling for a global treaty to fight plastic pollution that would include producing less of the material.

Driving the news: At the United Nations Environment Assembly that begins next month, government officials will begin talks on a treaty on plastic pollution — "a key growth area for the oil industry," per Reuters.

  • It's not clear whether negotiations would see tougher action on the management of waste and recycling — which would "likely face resistance from big oil and chemical firms and major plastic-producing countries," including the U.S., Reuters notes.
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