June 11, 2020 Read More →

Coronavirus may be one-time boost for single-use plastics lobbyists

The Energy Mix:

Though single-use plastics have rebounded sharply since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the poor optics of producing a product that is neither biodegradable nor recyclable may foretell lean times for the materials down the road.

The surge in single-use plastic production has coincided with strenuous efforts of sector lobbyists to label their product as “the hero of coronavirus,” reports Bloomberg Green. “Plastics lobbyists have been everywhere during the pandemic, touting the role their products play in keeping food, health care workers, and families safe.” 

Still, pandemic spike aside, plenty of campaigners are working—and making progress—on pushing forward more bans on single-use plastics. The European Parliament will restrict single-use plastics in 2021, requiring “nations in the bloc to recycle 90% of beverage bottles by 2029.” Globally, some “60 countries and 350 U.S. municipalities” have passed similar regulations. 

Those shifting winds may not be daunting to Formosa, but they have been to Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical, which had planned to build an ethylene-polyethylene complex in Ohio. In mid-May, the company decided to “indefinitely postpone” any further construction, indicating that “conditions needed for such a complex had deteriorated” even before COVID-19 showed its microscopic face, reports Petrochemical Update, in a dispatch republished by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

“Prior to the pandemic, the planned PTTGC project for Ohio faced a cumulative set of troublesome risks,” said IEEFA Director of Finance Tom Sanzillo. “The pandemic only increased the weak fundamentals and created greater uncertainty about the fate of the project.”

[Staff Report]

More: Future Looks Lean for Single-Use Plastics Despite COVID-19 Boost

Posted in: IEEFA In the News

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