Report blasts ‘campaign of fraud’ on plastic recycling

By Ellie Borst | 02/15/2024 01:10 PM EST

The study finds parallels with tactics Big Tobacco and Big Oil used to downplay concerns with cigarettes and fossil fuels, respectively.

Workers sort colored plastics.

Workers sort colored plastics at the Montgomery County Recycling Center in Rockville, Maryland. Tim Sloan/AFP via Getty Images

A new report aims to lay the foundation for future legal action against oil and plastics companies for deceiving the public about the efficacy of plastics recycling.

The report released by the Center for Climate Integrity on Thursday features never-before-seen documents that chronicle the “decades-long campaign of fraud and deception about the recyclability of plastics.”
report released

The case begins in the 1950s, when the plastics industry started banking on the concept of disposability, to the present day, where many companies are promoting heavily scrutinized new technologies under the “advanced” or “chemical” recycling umbrellas to address plastic waste.


An Eastman Chemical employee said at an industry conference in 1994 that “it is more likely that we will wake up and realize that we are not going to recycle our way out of the solid waste issue.”