Plastic Makers Support Fair, Feasible Policy Approaches to Improve Packaging Recycling

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement which may be attributed to Joshua Baca, ACC’s vice president of plastics, in response to the introduction of extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation in nine U.S. states:

“America’s Plastic Makers are helping lead the way toward ending plastic waste by investing, innovating, and driving policies that treat used plastics as a resource for making new products. One of the reasons plastics are so widely used in packaging is that they allow us to do more with less, which inherently reduces waste and carbon emissions, an increasingly important factor as we collectively work to address climate change.

“Creating an EPR program just for plastic won’t solve the waste problem and could lead to material substitutions that could cost more to produce, increase food waste or have higher lifecycle impacts such as significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Plastic makers support fair and feasible approaches that address all packaging materials, not just plastic, and won’t unnecessarily restrict or burden consumers or lead to unintended environmental impacts.

“Our members have set a goal for 100% of U.S. plastic packaging to be recyclable or recoverable by 2030, and we look forward to working with governments, nonprofits and businesses that feel as passionately as we do about ending waste to implement policies that help achieve that goal.

“Through ACC’s Plastics Division, leading plastic makers are identifying and working toward solutions to significantly increase the quantities and types of plastics that are recycled. Steps toward updating America’s recycling infrastructure are set out in our Roadmap to Reuse, Guiding Principles for a Circular Economy, and Plastic Solutions for America report.

“In just the last three years, 64 projects aimed at updating recycling in the U.S. have been announced, valued at $5.3 billion. Together, these projects have the potential to divert more than 4.0 million metric tons (about 8.9 billion pounds) of waste from landfills each year.

“But we need to do more, and that’s why pragmatic, bipartisan approaches to public policy are so important. Creating the 21st century recycling system we all want requires smart policies, such as a national approach to community recycling programs, encouraging the use of recycled content in new manufacturing and packaging, and increasing private investment in circularity by updating regulatory frameworks for new and advanced recycling technologies.”

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people’s lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $565 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation’s economy. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for ten percent of all U.S. goods exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.