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U.S. plastic resin producers set circular economy goals

Resin manufacturers announce three goals to transition to increasingly circular systems for designing, manufacturing, recycling, and recovering plastic packaging resources.

U.S. plastic resin producers set circular economy goals
U.S. plastic resin producers set circular economy goals

The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Plastics Division has announced three ambitious goals that crystallize U.S. plastics resin producers’ commitment to recycle or recover all plastic packaging used in the U.S. by 2040 and to further enhance plastic pellet stewardship by 2022.

Specifically, members of ACC’s Plastics Division have set the following goals for capturing, recycling, and recovering plastics:

  • 100% of plastics packaging is reused, recycled, or recovered by 2040
  • 100% of plastics packaging is recyclable or recoverable by 2030
  • 100% of the U.S. manufacturing sites operated by 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

“We are embracing the drive toward a circular economy for plastics because it helps demonstrate our overarching commitment to sustainable materials management,” says Steve Russell, 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.”

“Together with our value chain partners we intend to transition to increasingly circular systems for designing, manufacturing, recycling, and recovering our plastic packaging resources,” Russell says.

To achieve these goals, plastic resin producers plan to focus on six key areas: designing new products for greater efficiency, recycling, and reuse; developing new technologies and systems for collecting, sorting, recycling, and recovering materials; making it easier for more consumers to participate in recycling and recovery programs; expanding the types of plastics collected and repurposed; aligning products with key end markets; and expanding awareness that used plastics are valuable resources awaiting their next use.

“Our industry has a long history of leading on stewardship initiatives, such as Responsible Care®, and supporting recycling through research, technology, infrastructure, and education,” says Rick Wagner, Global Sustainability Manager at Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. “Today’s announcement marks the next step in this critical journey.

“Plastics resin producers are accelerating their commitments by building new coalitions and forging new business models that will help optimize a range of environmental, economic, and societal outcomes.Some of these involve turning used plastics back into their basic building blocks so we can create new plastics.”

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