Technological watch

ACC: Plastic Waste Study in “Science Advances” Provides Incomplete Picture

America’s Plastic Makers Are Working to Expand Responsible Solutions 

WASHINGTON (October 30, 2020) – A new study, “The United States’ contribution of plastic waste to land and ocean,” published today in the journal Science Advances examines various treatmentcategories of plastic waste domestically and around the world. The American Chemistry Council responded with the following statement, which may be attributed to Joshua Baca, ACC’s vice president of plastics:

“Plastic waste in our environment is not acceptable, and America’s plastic makers are working to quickly advance responsible solutions to address this issue. We agree with the study’s authors that any litter or mismanaged waste in the environment is too much. Unfortunately, the study does not mention that U.S. exports of plastic waste have declined dramatically – nearly 70% – since their peak in 2016. The fact is, U.S. exports of mixed plastic waste will be forbidden to many countries under the Basel Convention as of January 1, 2021.

“Plastic makers take their role seriously in developing solutions to address plastic waste in the environment and are working collaboratively with government, industry, and nonprofit partners on innovative ways to more efficiently use and reuse our plastic resources and advance a circular economy. For example:

  • We set goals for 100% of U.S. plastic packaging to be recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and to be re-used, recycled or recovered by 2040.
  • Plastic makers introduced a Roadmap to Reuse, providing a path to help facilitate more circular business models that will help reduce waste and minimize landfilling, while retaining plastics’ benefits to society.
  • We've announced a set of guiding policy principles that will significantly increase America’s capacity to advance responsible solutions to end plastic waste, such as through the adoption of mandatory recycled content standards for new products and packaging.
  • And together, the private sector has announced investments of $5.3 billion since 2017 to significantly modernize recycling technology and systems across the U.S.”

Publication date: 30/10/2020

American Plastics Council

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31