Plastics: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – Transcript

Plastic is in everything, from the clothes we wear to the water we drink. John Oliver explains how plastics are harming the planet, why recycling isn’t the solution you think it is, and why fixing the problem will be up to not just consumers, but corporations and policymakers.
Plastics: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Season 8 Episode 6
Aired on March 21, 2021

Main segment: Plastics
Other segments: 2021 Atlanta spa shootings
Guest:
 Richard Kind (voice-over)

* * *

[John] Hi there! Welcome to the show, still, unfortunately, taking place in this blank void. Think of it like Prince Philip, in that it’s white, doesn’t do anything, and I thought for sure it’d be gone by now. And we have to dive straight in with Tuesday’s horrific events in the Atlanta area, where a gunman killed eight people, six of them Asian women, at three different spas. And sympathy for the victims has poured out across the country, although there’ve been some terrible reactions, too… Like the one from this officer who briefed the press.

There are a lot of concerns about this statement, which many feel appears to sympathize with the shooter and not his alleged victims.

I spoke with investigators. They interviewed him this morning and I… they got that impression that, yes, he… he understood the gravity of it and he was pretty much fed up, at the end of his rope. And… and yesterday was a really bad day for him. And this is what he did.

[John] Okay, absolutely fucking not. You get that this is a press conference about a mass murder, right? You don’t get to minimize what happened like that. “Really bad day?” Alexander had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and what he did was shrug it the fuck off and go to bed while managing to murder zero people. That cop even went on to repeat the shooter’s claims that his attacks weren’t racially motivated; instead, his “sexual addiction” was to blame for the killings. Which already feels like a weird distinction to be making. “Hey! I might be a mass-murderer, but watch who you call a racist, buddy! Words hurt!” And while it is still early, details are still coming out, and authorities seem unwilling to call this a hate crime. I will say, a white man driving across two counties to two different towns, going to three Asian-owned businesses, shooting and killing six Asian women, in a city that’s only about 4% Asian sure as shit seems a lot more like a hate crime than “a bad fucking day.” And this is just the latest data point in a disturbing pattern. One group tracking hate-related incidents against Asian-Americans… which include physical assaults, verbal harassment, and civil rights violations like refusal of service… found nearly 3800 reported in just the past year. It’s an absolutely terrible trend that president Biden spoke about just last week.

[President Biden] Vicious hate crimes against Asian-Americans, who’ve been attacked, harassed, blamed, and scapegoated. It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.

[John] Yeah. It must. And I am really glad he condemned hate crimes against Asian-Americans there, but to say that they are “un-American?” I’d love to visit the nation that exists in Joe Biden’s head, because it’s a place where racism “is not who we are” and racial attacks against Asians are somehow “un-American,” despite the fact… And far be it from me to explain this to someone who seems like he’s lived through most of American history… anti-Asian racism has long been a fact of American life. From the treatment of Chinese railroad workers in the 1800s, through the Chinese exclusion act, through the Watsonville riots in 1930, in which a white mob rampaged through a Filipino community, through the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, through deadly cases of racial scapegoating like the murder of Vincent Chin, killed in 1982 by two white autoworkers in Detroit. Witnesses said the men mistook chin, a Chinese-American, for being Japanese, blamed him for taking their jobs, and beat him to death. And by the way, even though they’d reportedly used racial slurs during the attack, the men still tried to claim they were not motivated by race. So not only are hate crimes against Asian-Americans very much “American,” so is denying that they’re racist. It’s all so American, in fact, the national anthem could “oh, say can you see that this wasn’t about race.” And our long, ugly history of anti-Asian racism… and the fact it often peaks during times of crisis… is the very reason why, just last year, many were loudly warning that Trump calling Covid names like “The China virus” was likely to lead to a rise in violence against people of Asian descent, an argument that at the time, not everyone seemed to find convincing.

[Meghan McCain] I think if the left wants to focus on pc labeling this virus, it is a great way to get Trump reelected. I don’t have a problem with people calling it whatever they want. It’s a deadly virus that did originate in Wuhan. I don’t have a problem with it.

[John] Oh, good! Meghan McCain doesn’t have a problem with it! Listen not to the scores of Asian-Americans telling everyone that the term is dangerous and offensive! Instead, gather round, and take the word of a wealthy white woman who’s dressed like she’s about to lay off 47 people over Zoom. Now, I will say, McCain posted this week, “stop Asian hate” with three broken heart emojis. Which is a fine sentiment to throw up on Twitter after the fact, but there has to be an understanding that saying, “I don’t have a problem with calling it the China virus” is very much giving space for that hate to grow. And the minimization of racist rhetoric plays into the harmful stereotype of Asian-Americans as a “model minority,” pitting them against other minority groups and pressuring them to swallow their experiences with racism without making a stink, because that’s how you earn white acceptance. And that is something that takes its toll. Just listen to basketball player Jeremy Lin, who recently revealed that he’d been called “coronavirus” on the court, and spoke about the events of this week.

[Jeremy Lin] Asians have always been… Have been projected as being others or outsiders and you can… You can hear and see these microaggressions, in like, “oh, no, where are you really from?” Or, you know, talking about the way we look or our complexion and, again, calling it the China virus, kung flu virus, that is adding to it, fueling the fire, and now we’re starting to see a lot of those microaggressions turn into actual acts of violence.

[John] Right. Comments like, “where are you really from?” Are constant reminders of how Asian-Americans are regarded as outsiders, as people who don’t belong. And the fact is, “where are you really from?” Is just not an appropriate question to ask anyone, unless they’ve just opened up their torso to reveal a tiny alien squid operating a robot body. And even then, honestly, it’s still a bit iffy. “Well my parents are from Rigel VII, but I was born in Cincinnati, you dick!” The comfort people have with diminishing and othering Asians is pervasive. Even that officer you saw earlier was last year promoting t-shirts on his Facebook page calling covid-19 an “imported virus from Chy-na.” And the fact the killer chose these particular women, working low-wage jobs, as targets for his “sex addiction” speaks to how Asian-American women, in particular, have to deal with hypersexualization, and how Asian workers to the extent that they are seen at all are seen more for the labor that they provide rather than the full three-dimensional humans that they are. So there’s pretty clearly a lot that needs to be confronted here, as many have been pointing out. I’m glad that we’re starting to have this conversation, but this cannot be it. Asian-American women have been long invisible in this society. Right? You know, we’re being told this is not a racist incident. It is a racist incident because of the way Asian-American women experience racism in our country. Exactly. This isn’t just a conversation about this week. It’s a conversation about the centuries leading up to it. Now, some have responded by calling for increased police presence, although others are understandably wary of “more police” being a good solution. More guys like “deputy oops all forehead” here aren’t likely to make Asian-Americans, or, indeed, other communities of color around them, feel much safer. Others have suggested solutions from connecting victims of trauma to support after the fact, to improving collection and reporting of statistics on anti-Asian violence and discrimination, so we have a much more complete picture of what’s happening. And if you do want to help, there are some great organizations like these ones that could really use your help. Look, Asian-American and Asian immigrant communities have been feeling extremely vulnerable for a long time, and especially so right now. And for a group whose suffering has historically felt invisible to the media and the country at large, it’s important that we acknowledge that pain right now. But more than that, dismantling anti-Asian prejudice should be another key part of dismantling the chokehold that white supremacy has on this country. Because as we’ve seen since its foundation, and continued to see this week, people will bend over backwards to call racism anything other than what it is. And that is unfortunately very fucking American. And now this.

* * *

And now… Even during a pandemic, local news cannot be trusted with St. Patrick’s day. Today on “windy city live,” top of the morning to you. Top of the morning to you, San Diego. Top of the morning to you. Top of the morning to you. Top of the morning to you top of the morning to you too. It’s wee more than a little cloud cover out there. It’s totally cloud covered. Ah, lads and lasses, we will have sunshine. The luck of the Irish. The luck of the Irish be with us. I have no idea what I said. But I watched a lot of lucky charms commercials. Welcome to our fair city where the girls are so pretty. Let’s start with one of those lovely ladies.

* * *

[John] Moving on. Our main story tonight concerns plastic. It’s very much the Jane Lynch of materials, in that it’s incredibly versatile, appears in almost everything, and isn’t going anywhere for the next 400 years. Plastic really is ubiquitous. It’s in food packaging, it’s in building materials on planes and cars, it’s in bicycle helmets, and it’s in this strap-on thigh dildo. Imagine a world before plastics, when your femur penis would have to made from wood, or if you were wealthy enough, ivory. It doesn’t bear thinking about. But for almost as long as plastics have been around, there’s been the question of what to do with them after they’re used… A question any number of creepy recycling mascots have tried to answer. From the recycling wizard in South Carolina, to recycling ben from Georgia, to Muncie, Indiana’s Mr. Blue… Who appears to be a bag of recycling or an asphyxiated sausage… To my absolute favorite, Totes McGoats.

The popular social media news-site Mashable writes of “Niagara fall’s terrifying new recycling mascot ” and ” horrific goat-man hybrid.”

Sure, yeah, and you know what? I’ve seen children cry at the Easter bunny and Santa Claus as well. Um, but our target market isn’t three and 4-year-olds of course. It’s someone who’s learning about the environment, so middle school, teenagers, people who maybe aren’t so afraid of goats and clowns.

[John] Well, hang on. Who said anything about clowns? No one would ever mistake that thing for a clown. I know we’ve been tough on clowns in the past. They’re weird, scary, not funny, and they eat children, but credit where it’s due… They do put in the work. You think a look this fresh just comes together? Of course not! This guy clearly made an effort. He didn’t just google “rubber goat mask cheap,” and buy the first result, which, incidentally, seems to be the exact mask that fucked-up goat is wearing. And we’ve produced a lot of plastic for all those mascots to recycle. Since plastic’s introduction, production has skyrocketed to 380 million tons in 2015. In fact, half of all plastics ever made have been produced since 2005. And for all the hype about recycling, a lot less plastic winds up getting recycled than you might think. Less than 9% of the plastics generated are recycled in the United States, with the vast majority ending up in landfills or in the environment. But before you start blaming yourself, or your neighbors, for not sorting their trash and separating items, it’s actually not that simple, as this reporter found out while walking through a Portland supermarket.

It seems like everybody is buying lettuce in a box now. Is this recyclable?

In this state, none of this is… None of this is recyclable.

Okay. What about all of these? This is everywhere in every supermarket.

In Oregon, again, there are no curbside programs that would accept any of these tubs.

[John] Yeah, that is shocking! Because think of what that the stuff we all routinely buy at the supermarket …assuming, understandably, it will get recycled… Is, in many cases, not. And that is despite the impression we might have taken from mascots like Totes McGoats, whose name I’m honestly uncomfortable even uttering out loud, just on the off-chance that he’s like Beetlejuice and saying “Totes McGoats” three times somehow summons him into… Oh, shit! How the hell did you get in here? This is a Covid-compliant set! You can’t be here! Wait… You got the vaccine? How the fuck are you eligible for the vaccine? Hypertension, john. Oh, bullshit! You know what? I don’t care! You need to get out of here! Get out of here! You’re so much worse in person, Totes! You look like a furry who can’t commit. Get out of here! The fact is, a huge amount of the plastic surrounding us isn’t recycled because it’s not really recyclable. And that means it ends up in landfills, or burnt, or in the ocean, where it breaks down into “micro-plastics,” get eaten by fish, and can end up inside us.

Plastic in the ocean has a tendency to break down into ever smaller pieces. And these tiny pieces then get taken up even lower down in the food chain. So we know that it ends up on our dinner plates. There is plastic in your food, plastic in your sea salt, and plastic coming out of your tap.

[John] It’s true. A recent study even estimated that an average person globally could be ingesting about a credit card’s worth of plastic into their system every week. Which kind of explains capital one’s new slogan, “what’s in your stomach?” Good question, Mr. Jackson. Because apparently, it’s 1.5% cash back, a few thousand free airline miles, and a fucking shitload of plastic. So how is it that tons of plastic that we assume is getting recycled can instead sometimes end up inside of us? Well, that is what this story is about. It’s about why so little plastic gets recycled, the harm that can do, and how the plastics industry has managed to convince us all that it’s our fault. And let’s start with some history. As plastic production began to grow in the 1950s, so did plastic waste, and therefore, public backlash. By the ’60s and ’70s, organizations began drawing attention to all the packaging waste littering the landscape, through ads like this one.

Some people have a deep, abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this country. And some people don’t. People start pollution. People can stop it.

[John] Now you might have seen that ad before. It really touched people’s heartstrings, because apparently the worst thing white people ever did to America’s indigenous populations was litter on the freeway. But there are a few misleading things about it. First, that man wasn’t actually native American… He was an Italian-American actor who played them for a living. And while it’s by no means the first time someone of Italian descent inserted themselves into a native American narrative without asking, I guess at least this time no one named a holiday after him. But more to the point, the organization that produced that ad, keep America beautiful, was funded in part by a plastics industry trade group, and composed of leading beverage and packaging corporations. Which might seem odd, until you realize that the underlying message there is, “it’s up to you, the consumer, to stop pollution.” And that has been a major throughline in the recycling movement… A movement often bankrolled by companies who wanted to drill home the message that it is your responsibility to deal with the environmental impact of their products. And nowhere is this co-opting of environmentalism clearer than with that recycling symbol that you find on plastic products you buy… The famous “chasing arrows.” They are on everything, and the numbers inside them are pretty important, because they represent what type of plastic it is.

Number 1 stands for P.E.T. Think water and soda bottles.
Number 2 is HDPE, often used as packaging for detergent and shampoo.
Then, there’s 3, 4, 5, 6, and wild card number 7, which stands for other… Meaning everything else.

[John] Right, number 7 is basically the catch-all for “everything else,” in the same way that that one drawer in your kitchen is a catch-all for everything. Yeah, there’s ketchup packets, but also, rubber bands, the instructions to an immersion blender you lost a year ago, and a post-it note with just a phone number on it and no indication who it belongs to. Call that number! I dare you! But crucially, very few of those seven types of plastic are commonly recyclable. Certain types of number 1 and 2 plastics… Things like soda and laundry detergent bottles… Do get recycled. Although, depending on where you live, certain other types… Like those lettuce tubs you saw earlier… May not. And when it comes to plastics numbers 3 through 7… Which can be things like plastic bags, cups, or pouches… We have the capacity to recycle less than 5% of it. So out of the seven numbers, only two are really much good. And that is a pretty bad ratio for a group of seven. Ideally, you’d want a balance a little more like BTS. There’s not a weak link in that unbreakable chain of heartthrobs. With so many people onstage, you’d understand if sometimes Jimin only gave 50%, but he doesn’t, he beats up the dance floor every night like he just caught it robbing his house. And there are a number of reasons why certain plastics don’t get recycled. Some are complex mixes of different resins, making recycling them difficult. Other times, there are practical obstacles… That the plastic is contaminated, or difficult to sort. And then there are economic reasons… Sometimes, there’s no market for certain types of plastic. And right now, it’s cheaper for companies to make virgin plastic than for them to recycle it. But the thing is, despite knowing that most plastics can’t be recycled, the industry lobbied state legislatures to pass laws requiring that chasing arrows symbol to be placed on all of their containers, regardless of whether they could actually be recycled or not. Manufacturers and companies like Coca-Cola also lobbied local governments to invest in curbside recycling programs, even though, behind doors, one industry insider acknowledged as far back as 1974 that, “there is serious doubt that recycling plastic can ever be made viable on an economic basis.” And honestly, it wasn’t all that difficult for them to convince us that all their waste is recyclable, because we so badly want to believe it. Lies go down easier when you want them to be true. In fact, our desire for things to be recycled is so strong that people who work in the industry even have a special term for it.

A lot of things really aren’t recyclable, no matter how much we want them to be. People just want to throw, you know, everything in and, you know, they wish it was recycling. So we call it “wishcycling.” Here’s some “wishcycling” for you. Here’s an umbrella. I wish it was recyclable. It’s not.

[John] Now, first off, he’s right that umbrellas are not recyclable, which is a pity, as the average American goes through roughly 4,000 of them a year. I’ve already somehow lost 12 so far this year, and it doesn’t even rain in this void. And secondly, the term “wishcycling” is just too good to be wasted on garbage. “Wishcycling” sounds like a spin class taught by a unicorn, or the sewage treatment system at Hogwarts. “And this, children, is where we wishcycle all your collected urine into this delicious butterbeer! Oh, it’s fine, calm down, it’s magic, stop crying, it’s fine.” But wishcycling can end up doing real harm. Because at best, non-recyclable items can be a hassle to remove. Plants often have to stop machines to cut out all of the plastic bags that people desperately want to think they can handle. And at worst, they can end up contaminating loads of plastics that could otherwise be recycled. So the false impression we’ve all been given that all the plastics we’re putting into the recycling are being recycled is very much not the case. And for a few blissful decades, America and most of the world didn’t really worry about this, because we simply shipped much of the lower-quality plastic waste we couldn’t use, in bulk, to China. At one point, roughly 70% of the world’s plastic waste went there. But that stopped in 2018, when China flat-out banned the import of most plastics. And since then, much of our waste has been left to either pile up in domestic recycling plants with no one to buy it or shipped out to other countries in Asia, where it can get dropped into landfills, like this one in Malaysia.

Look at how big this is. Just take a look. Look how far it goes. This is just one dump. One dump. A vast field of plastic. Two stories high. See if we can look on the back here, “Marysville, Ohio.” This is from Italy, Pennsylvania, New York. Look, Walmart bag.

[John] Yeah, a lot of our plastic just ends up sitting in giant landfills on the other side of the world. So I guess Katy Perry’s question, “do you ever feel like a plastic bag drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?” Should really be, “do you ever feel like a plastic Walmart bag drowning in two stories of society’s unmitigated filth?” And since you’re asking… Yeah, Katy, I do. All the time. And the problem is, those countries don’t necessarily have the capabilities to deal with their own plastic waste, let alone millions of tons of ours. Which can have serious consequences for the health and safety of people who live there. In Malaysia, some operations are illegally incinerating lots of plastic waste. And just listen to this community activist describing what it’s like to live nearby.

The air pollution becomes very serious in my village. The burning caused a lot of respiratory disease problems to our people, especially our children and our elderly, who has this problem of repeating asthma, repeating coughing also.

[John] That’s terrible. And I have to say, there’s just no way that the people responsible for burning that waste don’t know the fumes are toxic. When you smell burning plastic, you don’t think, “ooh, that smells great. Is someone baking cookies?” You think, “my nose seems to be dying and it’s taking my brain down with it.” Now, the good news is, more than 180 countries agreed last year to place strict limits on exports of plastic waste from richer countries to poorer ones. The bad news is that, the United States is one of the few countries in the world that didn’t ratify that global band. And the thing is, when plastic isn’t burned, it can end up in landfills or in the environment. Across the world, more than eight million tons end up in our oceans every year. There’s famously even a swirling garbage patch of microplastic waste in the pacific ocean, spread out over an area that is “bigger than France, Germany, and Spain combined.” And by 2050, the ocean is expected to contain, by weight, more plastics than fish. That is all fish. That includes the red snapper, salmon, and, of course the blob fish, the only fish with a face that screams “I would be voiced by Richard Kind in a Pixar movie and he would absolutely nail it.” Isn’t that right, blob fish?

Oh, absolutely, John, 100%! I mean, look at me! I’m a blob fish! I’m slurp the blob fish!

[John] Of course you’re called slurp! That is some spot on casting right there.

Well, I’d only be a supporting character, but, look, with this face? You know damn well I’m gonna steal the show.

[John] I know you will, slurp!

I would provide comic relief throughout a very fun, yet intermittently touching film. And word has it there’s gonna be at least two sequels. And John? Entre nous?

[John] Yes?

I die at the end of the third one! But don’t worry, I’ve got profit participation!

[John] Good for you, slurp! Get that money. And frustratingly, the plastics industry’s response to all the damage you’ve seen has been to make a big show of tiny improvements, and then revert to what they’ve always done, which is heavily push the idea that if we as consumers simply tried hard enough, we could make our plastic problem go away. Keep America beautiful… the people behind that fake native American ad… is still around, making dumb commercials like this one, where a bottle goes on a long, inspiring journey to a recycling bin and ends up fulfilling its dream of becoming a bench. And if bottles were sentient, I’d genuinely be surprised if their biggest dream was “I wish old people would play chess while sitting on my face.” But I will say, at least they’re being honest there that the bottle became a bench and then nothing else. Because the truth is, only about 2% of all recycled plastic winds up in a so-called closed-loop system, where it becomes the thing it originally was, in other words, a bottle getting recycled and becoming a bottle again. Instead, most recycled plastic gets “downcycled” to become a carpet, or a fleece sweatshirt, or indeed, a bench, and it then can’t be recycled again. And yet despite this fact, companies like Nestle water have gone out of their way to make ads indicating that if we just did our part, plastics could be put into continuous reuse, like this ad from 2012.

Nature has a biological metabolism where one thing’s waste becomes another thing’s food. So if I look at something like a plastic bottle, I don’t see waste, I see a nutrient.

This is raw material?

So if this is raw material, people need to start thinking about it that way.

It could come back as a bottle, of course.

We only have to make this virgin material one time. And the rest of it’s up to you. We get the bottle back, we’ll make this bottle out of recycled content again.

[John] Well, that sounds amazing! Unfortunately, what that executive board ken doll is suggesting there is complete bullshit. Because nestle water doesn’t, in fact, have to make virgin plastic just “one time” if you simply give your bottle back. And the reason we know that is, even eight years after that ad aired, only 20% of the plastic they use was recycled, meaning 80% was from virgin material. So that’s the most obvious overstatement in an ad since this one for Gameboy in the ’90s that claimed it was “more fun than a ferret down your trousers.” That ad is real. And I’m sorry, Mario, but no, you’re not more fun. Not if the ferret knows what it’s doing. And the crazy thing is, that company actually has a better track record than many other brands when it comes to this. That is how bad things are. Take Coca-Cola. Brand audits of of plastic waste collected at cleanups have consistently found coke products as the number one top global polluter. Which is damning. And probably why coke has been so anxious to make splashy promises we all so badly want to hear, like pledging to use at least 50% recycled material in their packaging by 2030. Which does sounds really good. The problem is, Coke has been making and breaking promises like that for decades. Over the years, they’ve repeatedly, loudly launched big recycled-plastic initiatives that they then quietly abandoned with no one really noticing. In 2009, they announced plans to source 25% of their plastic from recycled material by 2015. Except you’ll notice that it’s six years past that deadline, and their current proportion is just 10%. So I wouldn’t be surprised if, by 2030, the main thing Coke is recycling is the same bullshit promises it’s been making for years. And look, on a personal level, I know this can feel demoralizing, because it can seem that recycling is pointless. But it’s important to know that it’s not. We should absolutely keep recycling paper, cardboard, and aluminum. And even recycling plastic… While it might be 90% more pointless than you assumed… can still have modest environmental benefits. Although, we should do it more mindfully… you should check with your local municipality to see what types of plastic they accept, and then only recycle those. Otherwise, remember, you could end up contaminating usable materials. And as a good rule, definitely don’t “wishcycle” things like umbrellas, because there’s a nonzero chance that you’re going to end up angering Totes McGoats. Oh, shit. No. No. Absolutely not. No. Leave this place. No! But more importantly, our personal behavior is not the main culprit here, despite what the plastics industry has spent decades, and millions of dollars trying to convince us. So yes, we shouldn’t be using single-use plastics like grocery bags or take-out containers… reducing that would make a huge difference, as nearly half of the plastic waste generated globally in 2015 was plastic packaging, most of it single use. But it can be hard, on an individual level, to end their use. A better move would be to implement smart, thoughtful, targeted bans that force the introduction of alternatives. And to their credit, many cities have banned single-use plastic bags. Unfortunately, the industry has fought those bans hard, even lobbying some state legislatures, to the point that eighteen states now have preemptive laws stopping local regulation. Which is a bit weird. I guess those states just have a hard-on for plastic bags not seen since that creepy kid from American Beauty. The kid loved bags. So what can we really do here? Well, the real behavior change has to come from plastics manufacturers themselves. Without that, nothing significant is going to happen. We have to make them internalize the costs of the pollution that they are creating. And there is a way to do this, through a concept called “extended producer responsibility” or “the polluter pays principle.” The idea is to create laws that essentially shift responsibility, and the costs of collection, from the public sector and all of us to the actual producers of the plastic waste. EPR laws could, among other things, force companies to either create the infrastructure and markets to recycle the products they make, or force them to stop making them altogether. The U.S. is one of the only developed countries on earth without a national EPR law addressing packaging. Because of course it is. But on the positive side, several states are currently considering EPR laws, and there was even a national law introduced in the last congress. It went nowhere, but it will soon be introduced again, and we’re going to need some version of an EPR law to pass, and soon. Because this problem’s getting worse. Plastic production is expected to triple by 2050. And it’s obvious that meaningful change is only going to come through being able to force this very powerful industry to do things that it’s shown for half a century it has absolutely no interest in doing. We have to make them change… And if not for our sake, or the sake of future generations, let’s at least do it for all the fish who are about to be outnumbered by plastic in the ocean.

Just like me! Ain’t that right, John?

[John] Exactly, slurp, just like you! That’s our show, thank you so much for watching. We’re off next week, so we’ll see you in two weeks’ time.

A hiatus? Are you fucking kidding me? Already? Jesus. God almighty, john. C’mon, john, buckle down. You’ve got more writers than the Jonestown massacre. My god!

[John] Slurp, it’s a very intensive production. Our staff is entitled to a break. See you all April 4th. Good night!

Hey! Look at me, everybody! I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I look like something another fish coughed up. Huh? That my head looks like a basket ingredient from “chopped.” Yeah, okay. To everybody out there on the internet who said I look like Ted Cruz, remember: I got feelings. And you’ve hurt them. Good night. I love you all. Miami beach is the greatest audience in the world! Mwah! Good night!

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