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WASHINGTON (November 22, 2019) — U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced yesterday the launch of the Plastics Innovation Challenge, which he described as a comprehensive program to accelerate innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies. The American Chemistry Council welcomed this news and issued the following statement, which may be attributed to Steve Russell, vice president of ACC’s Plastics Division:

ACC and its members welcome DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge and look forward to working with the agency, the National Laboratories, universities and other stakeholders to accelerate the expansion and commercialization of energy-efficient advanced plastics recycling technologies.

We are deeply engaged in developing solutions to help end plastics waste in the environment and commend DOE’s comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to increase the circular use of plastics in American manufacturing. In fact, many of our members are leaders and innovators in advanced plastic recycling technologies, who are excited to collaborate with DOE to scale and deploy them.

Companies that make today’s plastics are helping society to meet some of its greatest global challenges, including the need to live more safely and sustainably—and with a smaller environmental footprint. We deploy science and technology to help us repurpose more of our resources and to do more with less. Many of our efforts are focused on introducing new product designs to enhance recyclability, growing systems and infrastructure to collect and re-process our plastics resources, expanding and commercializing innovative technologies, and turning both new ideas and best practices into opportunities to expand more circular uses of plastics.

In early 2018, plastics makers announced goals intended to make all plastic packaging recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and for all plastic packaging to be recycled or recovered by 2040. Earlier this year, plastics producers helped to launch the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, which is committed to providing $1.5 billion to help develop infrastructure and systems to collect and repurpose waste in geographies that need them most.

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