Three new goals to enhance the circular economy for plastics and reduce packaging waste have been announced by leading U.S. plastic producers including BASF, Dow, DuPont and Braskem. Together as part of the American Chemistry Council (ACC)’s Plastics Division, 15 leading resin manufacturers and an affiliated trade association have strengthened their commitments to capturing, recycling and recovering plastics.
The announcement follows recent news that 42 consumer packaged goods (CPG) giants have committed to eliminate plastic packaging waste under the new UK Plastics Pact. Around 8 percent of current fossil fuel dependency is attributed to plastic production, and much of the world’s plastic is used just once and then thrown away – resulting in 95 percent of the value of plastic packaging, worth up to $120 billion annually, being lost to the economy. Trucost has estimated that the environmental cost to society of plastic use by the consumer goods sector alone is around $75 billion, and that scaling up the use of sustainable plastic could deliver environmental savings of $3.5 billion.
“We are embracing the drive toward a circular economy for plastics because it helps demonstrate our overarching commitment to sustainable materials management,” said Steve Russell, the ACC’s vice president of plastics. “In setting these goals our industry is publicly affirming our vision of the future we want for safe, sanitary plastic packaging and our intention to get there quickly.”
Specifically, the goals are:
- 100% of plastics packaging is re-used, recycled or recovered by 2040.
- 100% of plastics packaging is recyclable or recoverable by 2030.
- 100% of the U.S. manufacturing sites operated by the ACC’s Plastics Division members will participate in Operation Clean Sweep – Blue by 2020, with all of their manufacturing sites across North America involved by 2022.