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Legislation Should Ensure American Leadership in Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Research

WASHINGTON (June 24, 2021) – In testimony today before Congress, ACC encouraged passage of bipartisan legislation that would accelerate efforts to reduce plastic waste and grow the circular economy for plastics.

Speaking in support of the “Plastics Waste Reduction and Recycling Research Act,” ACC’s Joshua Baca, vice president, plastics, testified that “this legislation would direct federal government resources to… help capture the value of used plastics through enhanced research and development, and create standards, tools and technologies needed to modernize and expand today’s recycling systems.” Baca testified before the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Baca said the Act would complement other recently proposed legislation such as the RECYCLE Act and the RECOVER Act, which provide funds to modernize recycling infrastructure and support community recycling programs. Baca: “Ultimately, these proposals are working towards one overarching goal shared by government and industry alike: ending plastic waste in the environment.”

Baca highlighted many of the burgeoning industry initiatives that apply newer, cutting edge technologies, known as advanced recycling, which pick up where traditional recycling systems leave off. “Passing the ‘Plastics Waste Reduction and Recycling Research Act’ would accelerate research and development for advanced recycling technologies, which complement mechanical recycling, and enable us to significantly increase the amounts and types of plastics recycled. These innovative technologies will play an important role in accelerating our ability to reduce plastic waste.”

Advanced recycling enables many types of plastics to become resources for new manufacturing, conserves natural resources, can help grow local jobs and economies, and supports the transition to a more circular economy for plastics.

Baca noted that America’s Plastic Makers are uniquely positioned to lead the world in advanced recycling technologies and sustain their growth. “Advanced recycling also provides an opportunity to capitalize on the capabilities of America’s world-leading petrochemical infrastructure” to greatly scale the manufacture of plastics made with post-use plastics. These technologies and capabilities can help the more than 400 global brands that have committed to using more recycled plastics in their packaging achieve their circular business goals. It also will allow recycled plastics to be used broadly in packaging for food, pharmaceutical and medical grade products, which is limited today in traditional recycling systems.

Passing the Act would help achieve America’s Plastic Makers’ two ambitious circular economy goals: 100% of U.S. plastic packaging is recyclable or recoverable by 2030, and 100% is re-used, recycled, or recovered by 2040. It also would support the U.S. EPA’s goal of achieving a 50% recycling rate for all materials by 2030, Baca said.

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