The American Chemistry Council's (ACC) Plastics Division has announced three ambitious goals that crystallize 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 percent of plastics packaging is reused, recycled or recovered by 2040.
- 100 percent of plastics packaging is recyclable or recoverable by 2030.
- 100 percent 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.
"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, vice president of plastics at ACC, in a statement. "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.”
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," said Rick Wagner, global sustainability manager at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, in a statement. "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. Some of these involve turning used plastics back into their basic building blocks so we can create new plastics."