The American Chemistry Council (ACC, Washington, D.C.; www.americanchemistry.com
) has outlined five actions
the US government can take immediately to advance a circular economy for plastic packaging. These represent a comprehensive, national strategy designed to capture the value of used plastics by engaging the entire value chain, said Joshua Baca, the ACCs vice-president for plastics.
Baca stressed that current processes fall short of the potential offered by advanced recycling, which would enable higher volumes and more types of plastics to be reclaimed. Advanced recycling also will allow recycled plastics to be used broadly in more demanding applications, such as packaging for food, pharmaceutical and medical grade products, he added.
The proposals include
- establishing a national standard requiring all plastic packaging to include at least 30% recycled plastics by 2030
- creating a modern regulatory system that enables rapid scaling of advanced recycling while continuing to grow mechanical recycling methods
- directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a national recycling framework for plastics
- engaging the National Academy of Sciences (Washington, D.C.; www.nasonline.org) to conduct a study that compares the impacts of raw materials, then using the findings to guide future policies
- setting up a US producer responsibility system for packaging that raises critical funding dedicated to improving recycling access, collection and outreach for all materials including plastics.
In an interview with PIE, Perc Pineda, the chief economist at the US Plastics Industry Association, said investment in the recycling infrastructure would be necessary to realise circularity in the US plastics industry (see Plasteurope.com of 20.07.2021
The volume of plastics recovered for recycling in the US in 2019, the latest data available, was relatively low and even decreased by 0.5% versus 2018 (see Plasteurope.com of 07.07.2021