Skip to main content


California’s attorney general announced on Thursday he issued a subpoena to ExxonMobil (XOM.N) for information on its role in causing the global plastic waste crisis.

The subpoena is part of a broader investigation led by California Attorney General Rob Bonta into the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries’ role in “causing and exacerbating the global plastics pollution crisis.”

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

The investigation will resemble ones launched by several state attorneys general into the role that fossil fuel companies played in causing and exacerbating climate change, which focused on what the industry knew decades ago and how companies misled the public about their role.

In this investigation, the attorney general will focus on the “half-century campaign of deception and the ongoing harm caused to the State of California” by companies that produce plastics, a petroleum-based product, and how they perpetuate “myths around recycling”. Exxon is the first company to receive a subpoena, but officials said they will also target other companies in the industry.

[Valerie Volcovici]

More: California AG subpoenas Exxon for details on role in global plastic pollution

Join our newsletter

Keep up to date with all the latest from IEEFA