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While plastic manufacturers in the US have different approaches and priorities, we all agree that the problem of plastic waste needs to be resolved. America’s plastics manufacturers are working together to lead the way, and we are confident that we can address this problem as a nation.
Three years ago we set ourselves two ambitious goals: by 2030, 100% of US plastic packaging should be recyclable or recoverable, and by 2040 100% of US plastic packaging should be reused, recycled or recycled.
To achieve these goals, we have developed a number of principles that guide our efforts. And we’ve created a RoadMap to Reuse, a plan to achieve these goals and drive a circular economy for plastics in which these materials are used for as long as possible and then reused instead of discarded.
Part of this plan requires policy changes and action by Congress. That is why on July 13th we presented 5 Actions for Sustainable Change: A Plan for Congress to Accelerate a Circular Economy for Plastics, a solution-oriented, comprehensive national strategy that can keep us on the way to our goal: Ending plastic waste.
Now is the time for Congress to act.
These 5 actions include:
- By 2030, all plastic packaging must contain at least 30% recycled plastic through a national standard for recycled plastics.
- Creation of a modern regulatory system to develop a circular economy for plastics, This would allow advanced recycling to scale up quickly while further expanding mechanical recycling.
- Development of national recycling standards for plastics by directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) to bring the plastics value chain and communities together to help develop a national plastics recycling framework.
- Study the greenhouse gas emissions effects of all materials to guide an informed policy by hiring the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study that compares the effects of raw materials and uses the results to guide future policies.
- Establishment of a manufacturer responsibility system for packaging developed in the USA to improve recycling access, collection and reach for all materials, including plastics.
Details on the proposed guidelines can be found here.
These 5 actions represent a constructive way forward, a new way of looking at plastics for policy makers and all Americans who will lead us to this circular economy … the environment and the ocean.
Americans want us to take bold steps. A recent survey found that 82% of Americans want the plastics industry to “bring together companies, governments, and consumer groups to help develop a national recycling framework to significantly increase plastics recycling.”
We can do this. And we need help. Although America’s plastics manufacturers are a large part of the plastics value chain, we need everyone involved. We invite the entire value chain to join us, from our raw material suppliers to the American consumer. We can come together as companies, as policymakers, as recyclers, as communities – as Americans – to work towards a common goal: ending plastic waste.
We hope that you will join us and turn to Congress to support these 5 actions. Please contact ACC to learn more about how to participate. And click here to see how America’s plastics manufacturers are improving our future by making sustainable change.
John Thayer is Senior Vice President at NOVA Chemicals and Chairman of the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council.