Plastics on Alaska’s coastline                   Credit: Anchorage Museum

The first ever major lawsuit against major plastic makers and a new proposed law both aim to stop plastics from clogging our planet..

A lawsuit was filed yesterday in California State Superior Court against Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Clorox, Procter and Gamble and other major companies for polluting waterways, coasts and oceans with millions of tons of plastics.

The lawsuit was filed by the Earth Island Institute and Plastic Pollution Coalition.

It claims violations of the  state Consumers Legal Remedies Act, public nuisance, breach of express warranty, defective product liability, negligence, and failure to warn of the harms caused by plastics to humans and animals.

The complaint claims the average person ingests nearly 5 grams of each week –the equivalent of a credit card

It says plastics also alter  the chemical composition of the ocean when it breaks apart into smaller pieces and releases toxic chemicals into the water.

Meanwhile, on February 11 a group of Congressional Democrats introduced the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2020.

The law would, among other things, hold corporations accountable for wasteful products, phase out single use plastics, reduce wasteful packaging and reform the nation’s waste and recycling systems.

The Plastics Industry Association calls the bill “misguided” saying it “is more interested in getting headlines than finding solutions.”

Today, 14 percent of oil and 8 percent of gas is used to make petrochemicals, the feedstock of plastics.  The International Energy Agency predicts that within 30 years, 50 percent of the growth in oil demand will be related to petrochemicals.

That means we are extracting fossil fuels, not for energy but for things like plastic soda bottles that we use once.

Find links to the lawsuit and support for the legislation here.