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U.S. Plastics Resin Producers Set Circular Economy Goals to Recycle or Recover 100% of Plastic Packaging by 2040

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Jennifer Killinger
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WASHINGTON (May 9, 2018)—The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Plastics Division today announced three ambitious goals that crystalize U.S. plastics resin producers’ commitment to recycle or recover all plastic packaging used in the United States 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 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 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.
Colored Plastic Flakes Recycling Process

“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, 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 said.

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,” Rick Wagner, global sustainability manager at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company. “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,” said Wagner. “Some of these involve turning used plastics back into their basic building blocks so we can create new plastics.”

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $486 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for ten percent of all U.S. goods exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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