Despite the global movement to tackle plastic pollution, demand for plastics continues to rise. As the world transitions away from fossil fuels, plastics are set to be the biggest driver of oil demand. Single-use plastics – deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19 – have been given a new lease of life. In a world beset with crisis fatigue, what can we do to curb the escalating plastics crisis?
In this incisive book, sociologist Alice Mah reveals how petrochemical and plastics corporations have fought relentlessly to protect and expand plastic markets in the face of existential threats to business. From denying the toxic health effects of plastics to co-opting circular economy solutions to plastic waste and exploiting the opportunities offered up by the global pandemic, industry has deflected attention from the key problem: plastics production.
The consequences of unfettered plastics growth are pernicious and highly unequal. We all have a part to play in reducing plastic consumption but we must tackle the problem at its root – the capitalist imperative for limitless growth.
1 Plastic Unlimited
2 Manufacturing Toxic Wants and Needs
3 The Corporate Alliance to (Never) End Plastic Waste
4 Hedging Against Climate Risk
5 Plastics in the Pandemic
6 How Can We Curb the Plastics Crisis?
Alice Mah is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. She is the author of Industrial Ruination, Community, and Place, winner of the 2013 BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize, Port Cities and Global Legacies, and (with Thom Davies) Toxic Truths: Environmental Justice and Citizen Science in a Post-Truth Age.