An investigation has begun by California attorney general Rob Bonta into whether major oil companies have deceived the public over plastic products and the recycling of them.
He has also issued a subpoena for ExxonMobil for information relating to what he says is the company’s role in deceiving the public.
Attorney general Bonta said: “In California and across the globe, we are seeing the catastrophic results of the fossil fuel industry’s decades-long campaign of deception. Plastic pollution is seeping into our waterways, poisoning our environment, and blighting our landscapes.
“Enough is enough. 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, and the recycling rate never passed 9%.
“Every week, we consume the equivalent of a credit card’s worth of plastic through the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe. This first of its kind investigation will examine the fossil fuel industry’s role in creating and exacerbating the plastics pollution crisis – and what laws, if any, have been broken in the process.”
The attorney general’s investigation will focus on this alleged campaign and whether it violated California’s state laws.
Potentially, a legal order could be issued or a settlement arranged that would require companies to clean up plastic waste in California, make plastic manufacturing changes and promote non-deceptive ways of talking about plastics.
ExxonMobil said it is “focused on solutions and meritless allegations like this distract from the important collaborative work