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The current coronavirus crisis has caused disruption and upheaval across the globe and the plastic industry is no exception. In recent months, the plastic lobby has profited from pandemic-driven panic as the demand for single-use plastic products has skyrocketed.
Plastic Producers Cashing in on Coronavirus Fear
As fear of the virus spread, so too did the demand for single-use plastic products. Items such as face masks, gloves, and food containers have all been in high-demand as people attempt to protect themselves from infection. This has meant big profits for the plastic industry, where plastic production has increased exponentially in the last few months. Companies such as Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil have reported record profits as a result of the pandemic.
Lobbyists Pushing for Continued Plastic Use
With the increase in plastic production and profits, the plastic lobby has become increasingly powerful. Lobbyists representing the plastic industry, such as the American Chemistry Council and the Plastics Industry Association, have actively been pushing for increased plastic use. They have argued that plastic is a necessary tool in combatting the pandemic, and that it can be recycled and reused.
Economic Benefits to the Plastic Industry from COVID-19
The coronavirus crisis has brought about a surge in demand for plastic products, which has in turn led to increased revenue for the plastic industry. This has created jobs, increased investment in the industry, and allowed for further innovation and development of plastic products.
Impact of Plastic Waste on the Environment During the Pandemic
Although the plastic industry has benefited from increased demand during the pandemic, the environmental impacts of increased plastic production and consumption cannot be ignored. With more and more plastic waste entering the environment, there is a risk to the natural ecosystems and increasing pollution.
The coronavirus crisis has revealed the immense power and influence of the plastic lobby. By tapping into people’s fear of the virus, the plastic industry has been able to increase plastic production and profits. This has created economic benefits but has come at the cost of the environment, which has seen an unprecedented influx of plastic waste because of the pandemic.
- Graz, U. (2020). How the Plastic Lobby Is Profiting from the Coronavirus. Retrieved from https://www.ecowatch.com/plastic-lobby-coronavirus-2649209174.html
- Gienger, E. (2020). Coronavirus: How the World’s Plastic Pollution Problem Got Worse. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2020/05/coronavirus-plastic-pollution-problem-got-worse/
- Sheffield, R. (2020). What Is the Plastic Industry Doing in Response to the Coronavirus Outbreal? Retrieved from https://www.governancemagazine.com/what-is-the-plastic-industry-doing-in-response-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak/