The OECD has joined The Movement. In a new report it’s saying that plastic recycling isn’t working. So we’ve got to make it work. Fair enough. Perhaps we should. But you’d think that reading their material on it, there might be some discussion as to whether this was the most economic way to address environmental objectives, or at least the most environmentally sound way to do so. I mean recycling plastic involves a lot of pollution – with trucks running round collecting stuff, toxins being difficult to remove from the plastic on recycling. So you’d be interested to hear how it all stacks up.
And when we hear that plastic waste is converted via incineration to energy and that this emits greenhouse gas, you’d want to know what the counterfactual was wouldn’t you? You’d want some reassurance that more recycling would lower plastics in the oceans – since, though it’s referenced as an important issue in the report, it seems to be a littering, rather than a recycling problem. And when you hear about the benefits of ‘extended producer responsibility’ you’re also waiting to hear about the very substantial costs and how the benefits and costs – economic and environmental – compare. But I had a quick read of the executive summary, and I was still waiting.