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  • Press Release

America’s Plastic Makers Optimistic That Ambitious UN Global Plastics Agreement Can Achieve Goals

Agreement Must Accelerate Plastics Circularity to Benefit Environment

Matthew Kastner

WASHINGTON, DC (December 2, 2022) — After a week of negotiations among governments at the UN’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee’s (INC-1) first of five meetings, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and America’s plastic makers remain hopeful a global plastics agreement can drive progress towards eliminating plastic waste in the environment.

Most importantly, ACC remains committed in its support of an effective and implementable legally binding global agreement on plastics.   

At INC-1, governments voiced a resounding desire to develop a bold agreement that leverages country-specific action plans to accelerate circularity and eliminate plastic waste. ACC and America’s plastic makers support the same approach and want to partner with governments to tackle each country’s unique challenges.

Throughout the meeting, it became apparent that America’s plastic makers’ 5 Actions for Sustainable Change contain the tenets that governments repeatedly stated should be in a national action plan (NAP). They are:

  1. Require specific recycled plastic amounts in packaging.
  2. Leverage technology and innovation to rapidly scale up circularity.
  3. Create national recycling standards.
  4. Conduct life-cycle assessments of materials to inform policy.  
  5. Implement extended producer responsibility systems to help fund circularity.

“These five actions are a blueprint for the U.S. and other countries to adopt and tailor for their unique country-specific situations,” said Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at ACC. “We continue to encourage U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation aligned with these five actions. This would serve the dual purpose of creating a more circular economy for plastics domestically, while sending a powerful signal to the globe that the U.S. is leaning forward with an ambitious model to address the challenge.”

ACC strongly cautioned governments against production caps on plastics as proposed by some groups. In order to combat climate change and sustain a growing global population, such a misguided approach would hinder progress towards a more sustainable, lower carbon future. Sustainable development relies on plastics for wind turbines, solar panels, lightweight electric vehicles, building insulation, clean water and preventing food waste. Additionally, production caps wouldn’t address plastics leakage for the 3 billion people that lack access to adequate waste management.

Joshua Baca, Vice President, American Chemistry Council Plastics Division
As plastic makers and others invest billions domestically and abroad to scale up a more circular economy, we want to maximize effectiveness by partnering with governments across the globe. Working together we can accelerate investments in waste management and infrastructure necessary to keep used plastic in global economies and out of the environment.

ACC congratulates the United Nations, U.S. delegation, and host country Uruguay for a productive meeting, moving the world closer toward eliminating plastic waste in the environment.

American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division

The American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division represents America’s Plastic MakersSM and the half million+ scientists, engineers, technicians, and other innovators who make plastics for many essential and lifesaving products that are vital to modern life. America’s Plastic Makers continue to embrace change. We’re linking innovation with sustainability, deploying next generation technologies to make plastics lighter, stronger, more efficient and more recyclable, so we can meet our goal for 100% of U.S. plastic packaging to be reused, recycled, or recovered by 2040. We’re making sustainable change to help build a cleaner, safer, more sustainable future for generations to come. 

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.