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Data: S&P Global Platts; Chart: Axios Visuals

Outsized demand for recycled plastic material has caused its prices to nearly double what they were last year, per the WSJ.

Driving new demand: The fashion industry, which has started to move toward recycled plastic-based clothing.

The other factor: Fewer people drinking sodas this summer, which led to a shortage of used plastic bottles to be recycled than in normal years, Alexander Borulev, associate editor of petrochemicals price reporting at S&P Global Platts, says.

The big picture: Prices for recycled PET flakes that are made from plastic bottles have risen in both Europe and the U.S. in 2021, per the WSJ.

  • Consumer brands like Nestlé and Coca-Cola have also committed to using more recycled materials in their own products, and reduce the amount of virgin plastic, WSJ reported.
  • New EU environmental laws will increase the crunch by setting quotas requiring the use of more recycled material in new PET drink bottles and other packaging materials, according to the WSJ.

Go deeper

Study: Over 25,000 tons of COVID-related plastic waste pollutes oceans

Plastic debris and face masks on a beach in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Photo: Andrey Nekrasov/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Over 25,000 tons of pandemic-related plastic waste pollute the global ocean, according to a study published in the journal PNAS on Monday.

Why it matters: Plastic waste poses a major threat to marine life and ecosystems. COVID-19 only increased the demand for single-use plastic, "intensifying pressure on this already out-of-control problem," the researchers write.

Updated 10 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 13 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.