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  • Press Release

New Report Underscores Need for Transparent Certification Process for Plastic Made by Advanced Recycling

Matthew Kastner

WASHINGTON (February 15, 2022) — The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) last week submitted its report, “An Assessment of Mass Balance Accounting Methods for Polymers Workshop Report,” to Congress. The following statement may be attributed to Joshua Baca, American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) vice president of plastics:

“NIST’s recent report highlights the need for a credible and transparent system to track recycled plastic used in new products and packaging produced by advanced recycling. America’s plastic makers are supportive of these recommendations, which will help achieve a circular economy for plastics.

“As advanced recycling continues to scale up the quantity and types of plastics that can be recycled, it is particularly important to have certifiable methods to account for recycled plastic. This will increase understanding and assurance for brands and consumers when they purchase products made with recycled plastic.

“One of the most widely accepted certification systems used today is known as ‘mass balance.’ This system is used to track sustainability measures in many industries, including coffee, forestry, and agriculture. NIST pointed to the successful use of mass balance in other sectors and the opportunity to accelerate the advancement of chemical (advanced) recycling. A mass balance system would help meet demands for recycled plastic, especially for food- and pharma-contact packaging, and help meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s goal of a 50% recycling rate by 2030.

“Consistent use of a credible third-party certification system using mass balance approaches is an important element of America’s plastic makers’ 5 Actions for Sustainable Change. The 5 Actions are concrete steps Congress can take to accelerate a circular economy for plastics in the U.S. Additionally, in December, ACC released its updated mass balance principles to help guide the creation of a mass balance system in the U.S.

“NIST’s report stemmed from the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, which was signed into law in December 2020. Supported by America’s plastic makers, this Act helped fund scientific research for innovative ways to repurpose used plastics.”

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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