The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and its members applaud the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newly released National Recycling Goal to increase the U.S. recycling rate to 50% by 2030. The following statement may be attributed to Joshua Baca, vice president of ACC’s Plastics Division:
The ACC and its members fully endorse EPA’s “50 by 30” strategy and goals, as they closely align with our own commitments to eliminate plastic waste through a circular economy. This shift to a more comprehensive national strategy will help create a stronger, more resilient domestic recycling system and help address plastic waste in the environment.
Solving the complex challenge of recycling and improving waste management requires everyone to play a role. Plastics producers, product manufacturers, retailers, recyclers and waste haulers, as well as communities, nonprofits, and federal, state and local governments must come together to support the circular solutions and infrastructure this problem requires.
Retaining and growing congressional engagement is key, too, as achieving EPA goals will require smart policies, such as national standards for recycling programs, minimum recycled content standards, and updated frameworks that classify advanced recycling technologies as manufacturing instead of waste disposal. We look forward to working with Congress on strategies to grow and modernize our recycling systems through infrastructure investment and access, strengthen markets for recycled materials, and education.
America’s plastic makers also have set goals to jumpstart a more circular economy for plastics in the U.S., that 100% of U.S. plastic packaging will be recyclable or recoverable by 2030, and 100% of U.S. plastics packaging will be reused, recovered or recycled by 2040. To help achieve these goals, earlier this year ACC introduced the Roadmap to Reuse, which together with the Guiding Principles, provide a first-of-its-kind framework to help guide actions that support the delivery of solutions to meet these commitments.
Already there has been significant progress in domestic investments in the U.S. recycling system. In the last three years, 64 projects in mechanical and advanced 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 (approximately 8.9 billion pounds) of waste from landfills each year. In addition, many ACC members have made significant commitments to use recycled plastics, which can be seen in the Plastics Solutions for America 2020 report.
We must continue to focus on modernizing our recycling systems, investing and scaling advanced technologies to capture and reuse more plastic, and closing the loop to keep plastics where they belong – as the building blocks for tomorrow’s plastic and other products. We are asking manufacturers and businesses to join us and support achieving these circularity goals. And we are calling on Congress to enact meaningful policies that will support EPA’s effort and enable us to drive toward a better future.