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Oceana Recommendation to Ban Plastic Production Would Have Unintended Negative Environmental Consequences

Matthew Kastner

WASHINGTON (November 24, 2020) – Oceana released a study last week detailing impacts of ocean plastics on marine mammals. In its report Oceana recommends that companies reduce plastic production and governments pass policies to curb plastic use. The following may be attributed to Joshua Baca, vice president of the American Chemistry Council (ACC)’s Plastics Division:

“ACC and our member companies remain committed to addressing the national and global challenges of plastic waste in our environment. We are fully committed to working with governments, scientists and non-profit organizations to develop solutions that help protect and cleanup our environment.

“Oceana’s study suggests banning plastics, which, studies show can have unintended consequences. A robust study completed in 2016 by the firm Trucost shows that replacing plastics with alternatives in common packages and consumer products would raise environmental costs nearly fourfold, driving up greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and other environmental impacts.

“People around the world rely on plastics to do more with less and lighten society’s environmental footprint. Strong, lightweight plastics enable us to reduce material use and ultimately conserve resources, save energy, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce waste. Plastics’ environmental profile can become even stronger when we all work together to recycle or otherwise properly dispose of these efficient materials after use.

“We strongly support policies that curb waste and reduce plastic leakage into the ocean, such as bipartisan legislation, including Save Our Seas 2.0 and the RECOVER, RECYCLE and PLASTICS Acts.

“We are designing new products for greater recyclability and increasing technologies and systems to collect and repurpose more of our plastic resources. We’ve established a goal of making all plastic packaging in the United States recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and for all plastic packaging to be reused, recycled or recovered by 2040. Helping advance collaboration, ACC developed the Roadmap to Reuse and Guiding Principles, which include policies to accelerate elimination of plastic waste and create a more circular economy for plastics.

“And ACC Co-Chair's the Global Plastics Alliance (GPA), a collaboration of plastics producers & manufacturers worldwide, committed to working on the problem of ocean litter. The GPA’s 2020 Progress Report highlights some 395 projects designed to reduce waste, increase recycling, and foster regional and global partnerships.”

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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