Plastics industry created a bogus recycling campaign to get people to buy more plastic

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America’s largest oil and gas companies are the makers of plastic, and they convinced people that most plastic could and would be recycled. However, only a fraction of plastic actually gets recycled. That’s according to NPR’s Laura Sullivan. Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

The recycling symbol is reassuring to find on the bottom of plastic containers — that triangle of three arrows with a number in the middle. It enables consumers to keep buying plastic and tossing it into the blue bin.

However, the plastic industry knew all along that most plastic can’t be recycled. This was discovered by NPR’s Laura Sullivan and PBS’s Frontline. Together, they combed through thousands of documents and spoke to the people involved in this massive deception. 

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

Credits

Guest:
Laura Sullivan - investigative reporter for NPR. - @laurasullivanpr

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin