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False Solutions

Fundamentally, real solutions to plastic pollution are grounded in zero-waste values and nontoxic, regenerative materials and systems that uphold justice for people and protect the planet from further damage. Unfortunately, industry systems extracting and processing fossil fuels and manufacturing plastic delay and distract from real solutions with false solutions so that they may continue to produce polluting petrochemicals and plastic—and as a result, continue to profit. This effort to derail progress to end plastic pollution comes at the expense of human health and wellbeing—especially for people living on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction and refining, as well as plastic production, storage, transportation, and disposal.

Learn more about false solutions:


Efforts to intentionally market false solutions is known as greenwashing. Industries have targeted consumers, and also policymakers, journalists, and others to spread misinformation with a wide variety of tactics, including deceptive public service announcements, ads, press releases, research, and even organizations with green-sounding names. Lobbying efforts are especially problematic as they  cause serious misalignment in policy and a slowing or even reversal of progress to address the core cause of plastic pollution: continued plastic production.

Learn more about areas of concern, false solutions, greenwashing, and industries’ efforts to lobby for damaging legislation:

  • Greenwashing Guide for Journalists explains how to identify and avoid spreading industry misinformation in reporting on plastic pollution science, policy, and solutions.
  • Plastic Solutions Review provides clear information and analysis of industries’ proposed false solutions, with insights for shaping effective legislation, reviewed by an expert panel of scientists.
  • The Plastic Trap is an investigative story in Open Mind that exposes the history of plastic industry greenwashing and the dangerous effects of false solutions and lobbying efforts to implement them in legislation.