Technological watch

Oceana Recommendation to Ban Plastic Production Would Have Unintended Negative Environmental Consequences

WASHINGTON (November 24, 2020) – Oceana released a study last week detailing impacts of ocean plastics on marine mammals. In its report Oceana recommends that companies reduce plastic production and governments pass policies to curb plastic use. The following may be attributed to Joshua Baca, vice president of the American Chemistry Council (ACC)’s Plastics Division:

“ACC and our member companies remain committed to addressing the national and global challenges of plastic waste in our environment. We are fully committed to working with governments, scientists and non-profit organizations to develop solutions that help protect and cleanup our environment.

“Oceana’s study suggests banning plastics, which, studies show can have unintended consequences. A robust study completed in 2016 by the firm Trucost shows that replacing plastics with alternatives in common packages and consumer products would raise environmental costs nearly fourfold, driving up greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and other environmental impacts.

“People around the world rely on plastics to do more with less and lighten society’s environmental footprint. Strong, lightweight plastics enable us to reduce material use and ultimately conserve resources, save energy, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce waste. Plastics’ environmental profile can become even stronger when we all work together to recycle or otherwise properly dispose of these efficient materials after use.

“We strongly support policies that curb waste and reduce plastic leakage into the ocean, such as bipartisan legislation, including Save Our Seas 2.0 and the RECOVER, RECYCLE and PLASTICS Acts.

“We are designing new products for greater recyclability and increasing technologies and systems to collect and repurpose more of our plastic resources. We’ve established a goal of making all plastic packaging in the United States recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and for all plastic packaging to be reused, recycled or recovered by 2040. Helping advance collaboration, ACC developed the Roadmap to Reuse and Guiding Principles, which include policies to accelerate elimination of plastic waste and create a more circular economy for plastics.

“And ACC Co-Chair's the Global Plastics Alliance (GPA), a collaboration of plastics producers & manufacturers worldwide, committed to working on the problem of ocean litter. The GPA’s 2020 Progress Report highlights some 395 projects designed to reduce waste, increase recycling, and foster regional and global partnerships.”

Publication date: 24/11/2020

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