Industry Spent Millions Selling Recycling - To Sell More Plastic


It was the late 1980s, and the plastics industry was under fire as concern mounted about ever-increasing amounts of garbage. But the industry had a plan -- a way to fend off plastic bans and keep its sales growing.

It would publicly promote recycling as the solution to the waste crisis — despite internal industry doubts, from almost the beginning, that widespread plastic recycling could ever be economically viable.

In this excerpt from "Plastic Wars," Ronald Liesemer, a former DuPont manager, describes being tapped to execute the industry’s recycling push — and how by demonstrating a commitment to recycling, the industry was able to successfully pre-empt nascent plastic bans.