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Plastics have become a hot topic. News stories about plastic on beaches and in the oceans abound, and policymakers have begun to respond with bans or limitations on plastic bags and single-use plastic items.

But the plastics industry is fighting back, arguing that plastics are indispensable, and that the real problem is littering consumers and poor waste-management systems. According to the industry’s talking points, bedridden hospital patients and the elderly depend on bendy straws, and phasing out shrink-wrap on vegetables will lead to a food-spoilage disaster.

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