Report slams taxpayer dollars sent to polluting plastic plants

By Ellie Borst | 03/14/2024 04:16 PM EDT

A watchdog called out subsidies for air-polluting plastic production, including facilities subject to Clean Air Act enforcement actions.

Recycled plastic bottles.

A new report bashes taxpayer subsidies going to plastic production, including "single-use plastics that end up as litter, and toxic air pollution." Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A majority of new or expanded plastic plants are accepting millions in taxpayer dollars while violating air pollution limits, according to a report released Thursday.

The nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project’s report looked at 50 plastic manufacturing facilities built or expanded since 2012 and found that 32 facilities have received subsidies from local or state governments and 42 facilities have violated federal air pollution control limits. Twenty-eight facilities have received Clean Air Act enforcement actions and accepted a subsidy.

Those subsidies total nearly $9 billion, approximately $278 million per facility, the report says.


“We don’t need taxpayer support for private companies that essentially manufacture pollution: single-use plastics that end up as litter, and toxic air pollution that disproportionately hurts communities of color,” Alexandra Shaykevich, research manager at the Environmental Integrity Project and an author of the report, said in a statement.