How industry argues that single-use plastics are ‘better’ for the environment

BFF zero waste expert Hannah Blumhardt recently co-authored this article in The Conversation, highlighting how industry is pushing back on proposals to phase out single-use plastics, citing life-cycle assessments. But as Hannah and her co-authors argue, this is based on an application of a LCA that does not take into account the full impact of single-use plastics.

After banning plastic bags last year, New Zealand now proposes to regulate single-use plastic packaging and to ban various hard-to-recycle plastics and single-use plastic items.

These moves come in response to growing public concern about plastics, increasing volumes of plastic in the environment, mounting evidence of negative environmental and health impacts of plastic pollution and the role plastics play in the global climate crisis.

Addressing plastic packaging is key to reversing these negative trends. It accounts for 42% of all non-fibre plastics produced.

But the plastics industry is pushing back. Industry representatives claim efforts to regulate plastic packaging will have negative environmental consequences because plastic is a lightweight material with a lower carbon footprint than alternatives like glass, paper and metal.

These claims are based on what’s known as life-cycle assessment (LCA). It’s a tool used to measure and compare the environmental impact of materials throughout their life, from extraction to disposal.

Continue reading the full article on The Conversation.

One thought on “How industry argues that single-use plastics are ‘better’ for the environment

  1. the one thing that is never talked about is WHY do we want so much? fixing many of our problems thru ‘sustainable’ (?) eg, ev cars, is getting rid of one problem and creating another. the fact is we don’t really need, we want, and why do we want? because we don’t really know how to just be. when we all learn how to be, the earth will be happier, and so will we!!!


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