American Chemistry Council issues roadmap for circular economy

06 December 2023 17:10

Washington D.C. - The American Chemistry Council has published an industry roadmap for creating plastics in durable goods that will advance the circular economy. The roadmap explains how the automotive, construction, electronics, and medical industries can create new, easily reused and recycled plastics.

Creating a circular economy in plastic is vital to global sustainability because plastics derive from petrochemicals that entail greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling and reusing plastic, in contrast, reduces the pollution that causes climate change. 

But much of the almost 60 percent of plastic in North America that is used in the domestic manufacturing of durable goods is not recycled. Considering these materials as an opportunity, the American Chemistry Council has published an industry roadmap.

Written with more than 100 experts in business, government, and academia, “The Advancing Sustainability and Circularity in Durable Plastic Markets” outlines recommendations for policies and business models to foster the circular economy for plastic in durable goods the automotive, building, and construction, electronics, infrastructure, and medical spaces.

“More than ever, consumers, brands, and industrial sectors are demanding more circular and sustainable business operations,” said American Chemistry Council Senior Director of Durable Markets Gina Oliver in a press release issued on December 5. “This roadmap offers responsible guidance for creating the conditions to accelerate more sustainable and circular approaches that capture the value of durable goods at end-of-life. This can reduce costs for businesses and help conserve natural resources and our environment.”

The roadmap explains why designers need to create durable products that can be easily disassembled for repair or replacement and with components that can be separated and recycled or reused.

Advanced chemical processes can create plastics that comport with these requirements. At present, recyclers can’t easily process many plastics. The roadmap also shows standards, best practices, and certification programs will facilitate the invention and production of these plastics for durable products, creating a source of goods for a circular economy in the materials.

Lastly, the roadmap calls for pilot programs to pioneer the value chains, technologies, and trade in end-of-life separation, sortation, and recycling of durable plastics. ce/jd

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