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Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Companies across the plastic supply chain are unifying around lofty plans to fix the world’s abysmal recycling record as a way to simultaneously protect their profits and respond to growing pressure.

Driving the news: More than two dozen companies, including ExxonMobil and Procter & Gamble, formed a coalition earlier this year seeking to pour more than $1 billion into increasing recycling.

  • Trade groups are also ramping up lobbying to oppose plastic restrictions, WSJ recently reported, arguing that alternatives can be worse.

One level deeper: The new coalition cites 2017 peer-reviewed research that found at least 88% of plastics in rivers — which that report says accounts for “a substantial fraction” of all marine plastic — come from just 10 rivers. These rivers are mostly in Asia, so the coalition is initially focused on partnering with cities in Southeast Asia to build out recycling infrastructure to stem the plastic waste in those regions, according to a spokesperson.

Where it stands: Oil companies are increasing investments in petrochemicals — building blocks of plastics — to offset anticipated demand decline elsewhere, especially transportation. To what degree the world restricts plastics could eat into the industry’s growth plans.

  • 70% of global oil demand growth by 2040 is anticipated to be used mostly for plastics, according to an annual energy outlook BP issued earlier this year.
  • In a first, the company modeled oil demand under a worldwide ban on single-use plastics. It would roughly cut in half the growth of oil demand over the next two decades.
  • Production, use and export of ethane, a component of natural gas, has increased significantly in recent years, driven by America’s oil and gas boom. Ethane is the single largest feedstock (raw material) for petrochemicals used in plastics.
  • ExxonMobil and Saudi Arabian-based SABIC got final approval earlier this week to build in Texas what will be one of the world’s largest facility processing ethane.

The other side: Environmentalists say industry’s focus on recycling reinforces the world’s plastic dependency and unfairly shifts attention to waste management.

"They could address it in very fundamental ways, by making commitments to reduce the amount of plastics being produced and reduce what it's being used for," said Carroll Muffett, president and CEO of the Center for International Environmental Law, an environmental nonprofit.

Go deeper

Twitter to label COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, implement strike policy

Photo: Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter announced Monday that it will label tweets with potentially misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines, and introduce a strike system that can lead to permanent account suspension.

The big picture: Tech companies are taking an increasingly aggressive stance against users who attempt to share misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines on their platforms.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Trump, Melania received COVID vaccine at White House in January — CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions.
  2. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals Most states aren't prioritizing prisons for COVID vaccines — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  3. Economy: Apple says all U.S. stores open for the first time since start of pandemic — What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  5. World: Italy tightens restrictions as experts warn of growing prevalence of variants — PA announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge.
  6. Local: Colorado sets timeline for return to normalcy.
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump received COVID vaccine at White House in January

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump were both vaccinated at the White House in January, a Trump adviser tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump declared at CPAC on Sunday that "everybody" should get the coronavirus vaccine — the first time he's encouraged his supporters, who have been more skeptical of getting vaccinated, to do so.