California to investigate oil companies over ‘misinformation campaign’ to sell more plastic 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office has announced it is investigating oil and gas companies for allegedly misleading the public into believing that most plastics can be recycled.

Accusing the nation’s largest oil and gas companies of having “a half-century-long campaign of deception,” California’s attorney general opened an investigation on Thursday into the companies’ possible role in promoting the idea that plastics could be recycled, with the aim of manipulating the public into buying more of them.

Attorney General Rob Bonta said the fossil fuel industry has benefited financially from misleading industry claims that he says date back decades. Bonta has so far subpoenaed ExxonMobil for information and documents.

“For more than half a century, the plastics industry has engaged in an aggressive campaign to mislead the public, perpetuating the myth that recycling can solve the plastic crisis,” Bonta said. “The truth is that the vast majority of plastic cannot be recycled.”

Bonta said the state’s investigation will determine what laws, if any, petrochemical and oil companies might have violated with their claims about plastic recycling. He stressed that the amount of plastic used worldwide has skyrocketed, from about 1.5 million tons annually in the 1950s to more than 300 million tons today.

As part of the investigation, Bonta issued a subpoena to ExxonMobil, demanding the company release documents related to its role in “deceiving the public” about whether plastic can be recycled.

ExxonMobil rejected Bonta’s assertions in a statement, saying the company supports efforts to reduce waste and has invested in a major petrochemical facility that can convert recycled plastic material into new plastic.

“We are focused on solutions and meritless allegations like these distract from the important collaborative work that is under way to enhance waste management and improve circularity,” said spokesperson Julie King.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Plastics Industry Association said California leaders need to invest more to expand the state’s recycling infrastructure to handle plastic materials more easily and educate people about how to recycle properly.




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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