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How politics and litigation impede innovation in plastics recycling

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Forbes or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: California Attorney General Rob Bonta is nearing the conclusion of an investigation that could lead to a groundbreaking lawsuit against ExxonMobil for damages related to the environmental impact of plastic waste 
• This legal action would leverage a novel theory of climate-related damages and marks a new frontier in environmental litigation

🔭 The context: The investigation coincides with California's recent legislative efforts to regulate plastic usage and recycling, notably SB 54, which imposes strict recycling and reduction requirements on manufacturers
• ExxonMobil has remained mostly silent since dismissing the initial claims as meritless, despite the increasing legal and regulatory pressures

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: This potential lawsuit underscores the growing legal challenges manufacturers face over the environmental impact of plastics, particularly in terms of waste management and recycling
• Such actions highlight the tension between environmental policy and industrial practices, especially in high-stakes industries like plastics production

⏭️ What's next: If Bonta proceeds with the lawsuit, it could set a precedent for how damages related to plastic waste are treated legally and might inspire similar actions in other states or countries
• The case could also influence future legislation and industry standards around plastic production and recycling

💬 One quote: "The lies and deceit Exxon used to cover up the truth about the non-recyclability of plastic is well documented," - Rob Bonta, California Attorney General

📈 One stat: Only about 9% of plastics are currently recycled, indicating a significant gap between production and sustainable management.

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