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ACC and Oak Ridge National Lab Partner to Advance Durable Plastics’ End-Of-Life & Circularity Solutions

Matthew Kastner

Partnership Will Pursue Greater Circularity for Durable Automotive Plastic Components

WASHINGTON (September 16, 2021) – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are excited to announce a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) to advance end-of-life and circularity solutions for durable automotive plastics.

The partnership will demonstrate a pilot-scale separation line that reclaims durable plastic through efficient sorting, separation, and advanced recycling to make new high-performance plastics for reuse. Additionally, partners will seek to advance designing components for circularity from the start and evaluate whether the solutions developed can be applied to other durable plastics beyond the automotive industry, such as aerospace and renewable energy.

The MOU is one outcome of an October 2020 report, Transitioning Toward a Circular Economy for Automotive Plastics & Polymer Composites, that provides a roadmap for a circular automotive plastics industry.

“Plastics and polymer composites already play a major role in making vehicles lighter and more fuel efficient,” said Joshua Baca, vice president of ACC’s Plastics Division. “This partnership builds upon those efficiency gains by helping enable a circular economy for durable plastics in the automotive industry and potentially other industries.

“Many of America’s plastic makers have already made notable progress repurposing plastic waste into automotive materials. They are committed to collaborating with automotive OEMs, shredders, recyclers, researchers, and government to solve problems that will help the automotive industry, and other durable composite goods, advance end-of-life and circular economy solutions,” said Baca. “This MOU will bring that commitment closer to reality for the durable plastics and automotive industries.”

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.

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