ACC Testifies Before Congress About Recycling Technologies

Plastics Division Expert Weighs in On Solutions to Plastic Waste

In a recent survey, a clear majority of Americans agreed that it is time for business, government, and consumer groups to work together to increase plastic recycling. America’s Plastic Makers® have long held this belief and are continuing to take the initiative.

Testifying before the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology, Joshua Baca of the American Chemistry Council joined a discussion about how the industry is moving forward to address plastic waste. At the hearing, “Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Research: Moving From Staggering Statistics to Sustainable Systems,” experts weighed in on how best to end plastic waste while acknowledging the pivotal role plastic plays in everyday life.

Plastic is a critical material that helps address some of America’s biggest challenges – a fact many members recognized during the hearing. In her opening remarks, Subcommittee Chair Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) pointed out the importance of plastic for all Americans:

At the same time, we’re also working towards solving our collective plastic waste problem. As part of our 5 Actions for Sustainable Change, America’s Plastic Makers propose that all plastic packaging include at least 30% recycled plastic by 2030 through a national recycled plastics standard.

During the hearing, members of Congress voiced their support for strengthening recycling infrastructure and discussed the role that recycling, particularly advanced recycling, can play in creating new opportunities for American businesses.

In his opening statement, Ranking Member Rep. Mike Walz (R-FL) emphasized how investments in new recycling infrastructure can both support American industry and reduce waste:

During his testimony, Baca called plastic waste in the environment “unacceptable” and explained that the plastics industry is deeply committed to creating a more circular economy for plastics and ending plastic waste in the environment. As part of this approach, he noted the importance of advanced recycling technologies, which are helping to convert significantly more used plastic into new products. These technologies pick up where traditional recycling leaves off by not only recycling a broader variety of plastic products, but also by enabling recycled plastics to be used again in food, medical and pharmaceutical applications. More than $6 billion in investments in modernizing recycling in the United States have been announced since 2017, most of which is focused on commercial-scale advanced recycling facilities.

The hearing featured several expert witnesses on the subjects of plastic production and waste reduction. During questioning, several Members of Congress discussed the strengths of advanced recycling and updated recycling infrastructure in addressing plastic waste.

For example, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) asked Baca how advanced recycling could help address climate change and reduce the amount of plastic in the environment:

The discussion also touched on international trade. Rep. Walz asked what it would mean for the U.S. if we were to cede leadership to China on advanced recycling:

America’s Plastic Makers are working with Congress, NGOs and other stakeholders to drive this important work forward. To learn more about our federal policy vision, check out 5 Actions for Sustainable Change.

Continue to visit America’s Plastic Makers: Making Sustainable ChangeSM to learn more about the steps we are taking to help end plastic waste, build a circular economy for plastics and create a more sustainable future.

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