LISTEN our 7-part series, “The Plastic Plague: Connecting the Dots Between Extraction, Inequity, and Pollution.” Our EcoJustice Radio team joined with Adventures In Waste (with support from The Story of Stuff Project) and created this series to follow the plastic economy pipeline including fracking to production cracking, a convenience/consumption culture gone awry, access to land and water rights, and proliferation of plastic pollution. We examine the necessary solutions to stop drilling, manage and respect communities, ecosystems, and resources, as well as demand equitable responsibility for the next seven generations.

Plastic Plague Series, EcoJustice Radio

Plastic Plague Episodes:

  1. EXTRACTION: Fracking and Drilling for Plastic Dreams
  2. REFINEMENT: Cracking the Plastic Production Boom
  3. HUMAN HEALTH: The Threats of Plastics
  4. THROWAWAY SOCIETY: Economics & Inequity of (Plastic) Consumption
  5. THE BOTTLE SCAM: Land, Water, and Indigenous Rights
  6. THE PARADIGM SHIFT: Reduction, Recycling, & Technology
  7. THE FUTURE: Solutions, Policy, & Resistance Around Plastic

Host and Producer: Jessica Aldridge
Series Producer: Georgia Tunioli
Engineer: Blake Lampkin
Graphics: Stephanie Lemus

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Plastic Plague, Extraction, EcoJustice RadioPART 1 – EXTRACTION: Fracking and Drilling for Plastic Dreams – Plastic Plague – Ep. 54

This is PART ONE of a special seven-part series, called, “The Plastic Plague: Connecting the Dots between Extraction, Inequity, and Pollution.”

As most people understand, plastic originates from oil and fracked natural gas. In order to limit the growth of plastic products, we must look to the well from which it came, before it ever becomes waste. The fight against the expansion of new oil and gas development and the fight to reduce plastics pollution are inseparable. To stop the flow of plastic, you have to go to its beginning.

On this episode (part 1 of a 7-part series), we tackle the beginnings of plastic at the source of its initial social and environmental impacts, with Jane Patton from the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and Stop Formosa], Sharon Wilson, Senior Organizer for Earthworks [@TXsharon] and Ethan Buckner, Energy Campaigner also with Earthworks []. Jessica Aldridge from Adventures in Waste moderates the discussion.


Plastic Plague, Refinement, EcoJustice RadioPART 2 – REFINEMENT: Cracking the Plastic Production Boom – Plastic Plague – Ep. 57

Plastic Plague Series: PART 2 REFINEMENT – Once extracted, how does oil and gas become the resin that will eventually be the plastic we use in our daily lives? Then we buy these products, the social and environmental justice issues are covered up by cool marketing campaigns.

On this episode (part 2 of 7), we will breakdown how fossil fuels become plastic and follow the train of economic interests and irresponsibility. We will hear from front-line activists dealing with plastic manufacturing and the impact to their communities’ quality of life.

Our guests include Diane Wilson, Executive Director of San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper; Sharon Lavigne, Founding Director of RISE St. James; and Jim Vallette, President of Material Research L3C, speak with our host, Jessica Aldridge.


PART 3 – HUMAN HEALTH: The Threats of Plastic – Plastic Plague – Ep. 59

Plastic Plague Series: PART 3 HUMAN HEALTH – On this episode, we investigate the impact plastics have on our personal health and quality of life. From our food packaging to our building material, we cover the toxins types, corporate responsibility, and how can we avoid exposure. We dive into what it means to support the efforts of frontline communities to minimize exposure by reducing these toxic chemicals. Did you know that after packaging, the #1 global use of plastic is building materials?

Our guests include Yvette Arellano, Policy Research & Grassroots Advocate for TEJAS, Dr. Julia Varshavsky, Reproductive Health and the Environment, UCSF Medical Center, and Bill Walsh, Healthy Building Network

Throwaway Society - Plastic Plague Serie, EcoJustice Radio

PART 4 – THROWAWAY SOCIETY: Economics & Inequity of (Plastic) Consumption – Plastic Plague – Ep. 61

Plastic Plague Series: PART 4 THROWAWAY SOCIETY – we investigate the economics & inequity of plastic consumption once thrown away. Does plastic truly get recycled and what is the burden of other countries? More than 300 million tons of new plastic is produced annually and less than 10% is recycled. 40% of the plastic produced is for packaging. China was the recycling destination for over 40% of the USA’s waste commodities. When they shuttered their doors to recycling imports, new opportunities popped up in other countries, but with it came the same issues of contamination, excess waste, and a dumping ground for the consequences of a “throwaway society.”

Our guests include Shibu Nair, India Coordinator for GAIA – Asia Pacific and Michael Doshi, Director of Partnerships for Algalita Marine Research & Education.

EcoJustice Radio - Plastic Plague Series

PART 5 – THE BOTTLE SCAM: Land, Water, and Indigenous Rights – Plastic Plague – Ep. 62

Plastic Plague Series: PART 5 THE BOTTLE SCAM – we connect the dots between the Water Bottle Scam and the fight for Land, Water, and Indigenous Rights.

The chain of environmental and social impacts is an embedded cost of bottled water, a resource that is supposed to give us life, but now arguably the process to extract, make, ship, store, and dispose seems to take from it. With a ½ billion bottles used and disposed of every week in the United States, while land and water resources are stolen and polluted it is time to close the tap on the Bottle Scam. The solution isn’t as easy as switching over to a reusable water bottle.

Our guests include Stiv Wilson, Co-Director of @peakplastic and Creator and Producer of the film, The Story of Plastic and Raven Stevens, Board Member of W.A.T.E.R. (We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review). Raven does not speak for the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. They are a sovereign nation and speak for themselves. They can be reached at: for further information.

Paradigm Shift, Plastic Plague Series, EcoJustice Radio

PART 6 – THE PARADIGM SHIFT: Reduction, Recycling, & Technology – Plastic Plague – Ep. 64

Plastic Plague Series: PART 6 THE PARADIGM SHIFT – we explore how reduction, recycling, and technology can create a paradigm shift that is solution oriented, equitable, and achievable.

Our guests include Claire Arkin, from GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives), Marcus Eriksen of 5 Gyres Institute, and Keng Baloco, of Athens Services.

There is too much plastic production for recycling to be the end-all-be-all solution to our problems, not to mention the inequity from its creation to disposal. However, waste-to-energy, chemical recycling, and plastic-to-fuel also have their concerns and might not be the winning silver bullet. Solutions best laid are community oriented and do not compromise the needs of future generations. So who is responsible for shifting the norm? Is it consumers, business, or manufacturers? How do we create community-based solutions? And how do these solutions around reuse and recycling weather issues and concerns related to virus spread and pandemics like COVID-19. Tune in to hear from the experts.