The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) today expressed its support for U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) plans to provide $14.5 million in funding through the Plastics Innovation Challenge for projects supporting the development of advanced plastics recycling technologies and new plastics that are recyclable-by-design.
“We’re very encouraged to see the Biden Administration recognize the importance of recycling infrastructure to a sustainable, circular economy,” said Tony Radoszewski, PLASTICS President and CEO. “Plastics are at the center of life in the 21st Century. We all enjoy their benefits every day. The Plastics Innovation Challenge will help us all to enjoy those many benefits with greater confidence about the effect we’re having on the environment. This is a great first step and the plastics industry will continue to work with the Biden Administration and Congress to ensure that continued investment in America’s recycling infrastructure is included in any upcoming federal infrastructure package.”
This DOE funding opportunity will support a range of projects to develop economically viable solutions to convert plastic films to more valuable materials and to design new plastics that are more recyclable and biodegradable. These solutions can increase investments in recycling processes and recycling jobs across America and reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the environment.
PLASTICS has long been involved in efforts to further advancements in such areas as advanced recycling, improving traditional mechanical recycling, bioplastics, and repurposing of plastics as fuel. Support for enhancing America’s recycling infrastructure has bipartisan support in Congress. The plastics industry has also been engaged in efforts to increase funding for recycling programs by supporting bills like the bipartisan RECOVER Act and other legislation to invest in recycling technologies. This approach is in stark contrast to highly-partisan legislation that would threaten millions of American manufacturing jobs and could potentially increase greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to the many plastic products Americans use every day, plastics—the 8th largest industry in the U.S.— supports over one million U.S. jobs and a half-trillion dollars in domestic economic value. Plastic itself is an energy-efficient material, crucial to manufacturing lightweight automobiles and airplanes, reducing fuel costs, and preventing food waste.