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The Plastic Paradox – Chris DeArmitt

Why Plastics Might Not Be the Environmental Villain We Believe

Podcast Summary

Chris DeArmitt has a lot to say about plastic, but probably not the story you’ve heard before. As one of the world’s leading independent experts on plastics and the environment, Chris offers a little-heard perspective on the material’s effect on our planet. As the President of Phantom Plastics, he offers materials consulting for Fortune 100 companies. An author, award-winning speaker, and class action expert witness, Chris brings an incredible wealth of knowledge on all things plastic. 

In this episode, Chris does a deep dive on the numbers behind plastics and explains how they’re receiving a disproportionate amount of blame in the environmental discussion:

  • Every single year, the world produces 400 million tons of plastic. That seems like a large number, until you consider that we also produce 10 billion tons of concrete annually. According to Chris, plastics only make up about 0.5% of all the materials we use (and waste!), but we put an unfair emphasis on them. Everything has some impact, but Chris encourages people to look at the facts.
  • When it comes to plastics, we’ve pretty much only heard the prosecution’s side. As a class action expert witness for cases involving plastics, Chris explains that we’re trying to solve a problem that we haven’t diagnosed properly. For example, consider plastic pollution in the ocean. If you look at the numbers, 85% of all ocean plastic is actually discarded fishing gear. We are solely blaming single use plastics, when another industry is a larger contributor to the problem.
  • Chris points to countless examples where the facts and figures are actually in support of plastics. Take polyethylene bags. All things considered, the paper or cotton alternatives that are now stocking our grocery stores can be considered environmentally more harmful. This shift, according to Chris, is based on public pressure, rather than hard science.
  • Chris is the author of The Plastics Paradox, which focuses on the facts and figures behind plastic production, use, and waste. The book is located for free on his on website and can be downloaded here.

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