Two of the main European producers of virgin plastic will start in this year’s show: Total, who recently acquired Direct Energie, and INEOS, sponsor of the reigning champion Geraint Thomas’ team—favourite to win the race.
INEOS, although unknown in France, is a leader of the petrochemical industry and the biggest virgin plastic producer in Europe. Following controversy regarding its hydraulic fracturing activities in the United Kingdom, the company began work turning shale gas into plastic in Europe, and is currently being accused of polluting the environment with plastic particles near its factories in Scotland and Belgium.
Evidence of the ties between petrochemicals and plastic production, the case of INEOS exemplifies how the boom of shale gas extraction in the United States has given the plastic industry an opportunity to increase their production at low prices, leading to the exponential growth of plastic waste we all know and hate.
A disgraceful image of the Tour de France
This is a 180 degree turn for the Tour de France, whose last winning team had been sponsored by the telecommunication company Sky, a company that made a commitment at the time to fight against plastic through its program Ocean Rescue. In fact, during the Tour de FRANCE 2018, cyclists sported the slogan “Pass on Plastic” on their t-shirts, to raise awareness of the problem.
Since the international success of the Tour de France particularly depends on the natural beauty of the French landscapes, and because it is a sport practiced out in the open, it becomes even more difficult to understand how an event of this calibre agrees to give the spotlight to giants of the virgin plastic game.
Time to take action!
We must make sure that the 2019 Tour is the last one dedicated to the glory of the plastic industry. To stop the petrochemical and plastic industries from greenwashing their image by sponsoring outdoor sports, share this message around you, challenge the organizers on social media and make your own poster to brandish when the Tour passes your way!
Vous ne voyez pas le lien entre INEOS, le #TourDeFrance et la pollution #plastique ? Vous avez le droit de savoir. On vous explique tout ici : https://t.co/txdKeTYmbE #BreakFreeFromPlastic #VisonsLeZéroDéchet pic.twitter.com/1UxBK96bO0— Zero Waste France (@ZeroWasteFR) July 1, 2019
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