The U.S. House of Representatives recently took an important step to address plastic waste with the passage of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act. This important, bipartisan legislation will help accelerate solutions to end plastic waste, and we applaud lawmakers for taking decisive action.
But more needs to be done.
We need a robust policy agenda that includes a national recycling strategy to help standardize recycling practices and increase residential access to recycling in communities across the United States. The American Chemistry Council supports new packaging fees on a variety of materials to help modernize and expand the nation’s recycling infrastructure, disposal fees to reduce landfilling and incentivize recycling and greater use of recycled content in new products and packaging.
As the head of an organization that represents many of America’s leading plastics makers, I know how critical it is that we acknowledge the problem of plastic waste. The biggest concern that many people have is plastics leaking into the environment, especially the ocean, and plastics going to landfills after a single use. To address this, the private sector has announced more than $5 billion in investments in modern recycling in the U.S. over the last three years.
America’s Plastics Makers fully agree that plastic waste does not belong in our environment and that plastic resources used only once are being wasted. That’s why we have recently unveiled a roadmap to help reduce plastic waste. Fortunately, plastic waste is a problem that can be solved. For more than a year, we have been working to develop solutions to end plastic waste in the U.S. by 2040. We also recently announced our support for several approaches to public policy that would significantly advance plastic recycling and the ability reuse plastic to make new products.
As an industry, we cannot claim the many benefits of plastics without also doing what we can to help keep it out of the environment. We must be — and we are — advancing new products and new ways of doing business that encourage plastics reuse on a national and global scale, developing new uses of recycled plastics and helping to build new infrastructure to create new plastics from used plastics.
Two examples highlight the scale of investment. Energy company Brightmark recently announced it is looking for plastic waste to recycle at its new plant in Ashley, Indiana. A lot of it: 1.2 million tons a year. And LyondellBasell recently announced plans to produce two million tons a year of recycled and renewable-based polymers. Similar initiatives are underway and being announced across the nation.
Regardless of the outcome of this week’s election, policymakers on both sides of the aisle have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to work with industry, NGOs and others on sustainable solutions. Creating a better future will require a shared commitment and ongoing support for innovation, investments and collaboration across public and private sectors.
The way we meet this generational challenge is to make a commitment – identify the path forward, work together and keep the goal clear and in sight.
We believe plastic waste is solvable, and we’re working to turn this global problem into a world of possibilities. Who’s ready to join us?