It may not rise to quite the same level as a friendship-busting, online flameout about election fraud, but plastics have officially become part of the Facebook (dis)information wars.
The well-known journalism group PolitiFact on May 26 weighed in on Facebook posts from the American Chemistry Council, pronouncing ACC's claims about the role of plastics in climate change "half true."
PolitiFact said it wanted to probe statements from ACC that it found "perplexing."
ACC, on its America's Plastic Makers website and social media feeds, argued that "using plastics in packaging and consumer products can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to many alternative materials."
PolitiFact, which is operated by the journalism-oriented Poynter Institute, said that post was flagged as part of its partnership with Facebook to "combat false news and misinformation on its news feed."
Well, that certainly puts the plastics-climate debate in some high-octane company. The PolitiFact research is sandwiched between fact checks about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, baby formula shortages and whether CNN reported that Rice Krispies has added a transgender mascot.
(OK, on that last one, glad everyone is staying grounded in reality!)
If you've been following the plastics-climate debates, you've probably heard these arguments before, and likely you've noticed that in the last year or so, mentions have really picked up.
On one hand, some studies have shown that plastics can have a lower overall greenhouse gas impact than other kinds of packaging.
And good packaging of any type has valuable benefits, like keeping food fresh longer and saving the greenhouse gas emissions from growing by forcing consumers or retailers to throw out spoiled food.
But plastics are also overwhelmingly made from fossil fuel feedstocks, and the material is a laggard in recycling, recycled content use and being anything close to circular, compared to other packaging materials. That's not sustainable long term.
PolitiFact's report is detailed. It describes its process here, and refers to reports on both sides. It quotes an ACC spokesman and it interviewed a Stanford University professor who urges reuse.
In the end, it says that ACC's claim is "half true" because it lacks context.
"It's true that some studies have found that plastic packaging is less environmentally damaging than alternatives like glass and paper, but this doesn't negate plastics' negative impact on human health and marine environment," PolitiFact said.
"Instead of assessing which packaging to use, researchers said the focus should be on ramping up recycling and reuse practices. The topic is more complicated than the post suggests. We rate it Half True."
The group defines half true as "the statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context."
This certainly won't be the last word on plastics and climate change.
When I asked ACC for a reaction, officials had a subdued response: "While production of all materials has impacts, researchers found using plastic in packaging and consumer products can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to many alternative materials."
The PolitiFact report is an even-handed back-and-forth review, although I think you could come to the same conclusion about many topics that have a lot of nuance, like plastics.
Every group, after all, will put forward the facts and studies that support its case and downplay other information.
But the fact that a prominent organization like PolitiFact chose to dig into it shows how plastics environmental concerns will obviously continue to be a big part of the public debate.