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Sustainably Speaking

Listen as innovators and industry experts discuss sustainability, ending plastic waste and ensuring a lower-carbon future.

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Welcome to the Sustainably Speaking podcast.

Protecting our oceans and environment, and ensuring a sustainable and lower-carbon future are among the most critical issues of our time. But how do we make it all happen?

Join us on the newly launched Sustainably Speaking podcast where we discuss these critical issues, and solutions, with the innovators, problem solvers and thought leaders helping to create a more sustainable future.

This limited-episode series will explore new ideas and innovations, ask tough questions, and delve into important public debates.

Americas Plastic Makers are making sustainable change in ways no other industry can. Our vision for the future – and the theme for these thought-provoking discussions – includes building a more circular economy, empowering low-carbon energy choices, and designing a more sustainable world. And, it's already happening today.

We hope you can join us every two weeks as new episodes are released! Listen below or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts to stay on top of the issues impacting sustainability.

Episode 14: Clean Drinking Water: A Pipe’s Dream

In America, we often assume our tap water is safe and healthy to drink. However, for millions of Americans, safe drinking water is a luxury due to the current state of our water infrastructure which is primarily made of corroded pipes. Just think of Flint, Michigan, which brought to light a community’s tragic struggle with water contamination.

On this episode of Sustainably Speaking we are joined by Dr. Richard Anderson, consultant to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, is intimately familiar with America’s water crisis. For over 30 years, he has worked on the difficult issues facing the U.S. water infrastructure and implementing solutions such as modern plastic pipes. Rich joins host Mia Quinn and special guest co-host Amy Schmidt, director of building and construction at the American Chemistry Council. Together they dive into the complex yet critical issue of providing Americans with access to safe and clean drinking water.

Click here to listen to episode 14.

Episode 13: A New Dimension in Reconstructive Surgery

On this episode of Sustainably Speaking, we explore the marvels of 3D reconstructive modeling, which uses printed plastic to create custom implants and devices that help improve patient outcomes. Medical imaging has come a long way very quickly, providing not just bi-dimensional options, but also innovative three-dimensional ways to observe a patient’s body. 3D printing is also a more sustainable method of modelling as it creates less waste and uses materials more efficiently.

Host Mia Quinn is joined by Dr. Albert Woo, a reconstructive surgeon on the cutting edge of this technology, and guest co-host Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. They’ll discuss 3D printing for patients and surgeons, advancements in the technology, and its role in creating a more sustainable future.

Click here to listen to episode 13.

Episode 12: Gen Z – The Future of Sustainability (April 25, 2022)

On the first episode of Season 2, we discuss the emerging generation of thinkers and doers, Generation Z, a group notoriously passionate about building a bright and sustainable future for humanity and the Earth.

Host Mia Quinn, Senior Director, Plastics Division at American Chemistry Council, and Gen-Z co-host Carly Zaccaria, Sustainability Coordinator at the American Chemistry Council, talk with noted leader in sustainability Gulay Serhatkulu, Senior Vice President of performance materials for the North American division of BASF Corporation and mother of an 18-year-old future engineer.

Click here to listen to episode 12.

Episode 11: Coming Full Circle on Sustainability in the Plastics Industry (October 25, 2021)

On this final episode of Sustainably Speaking Season 1, we dive into the complex and crucial role of sustainability related to plastic, building upon conversations we have had over the last several months. As our nation seeks to modernize U.S. infrastructure, expand sustainable technologies, and find ways to prevent waste, plastic industry leaders continue to elevate sustainability in their business models to create a better world today and for future generations.

Host Joshua Baca highlights the best of our conversations from Season 1 as our guests share perspectives on the often-overlooked role of plastics in building a more sustainable world. With topics ranging from reducing greenhouse gases to creating financially viable, long-term solutions, this sustainability-centered discussion — largely shaped by our guests’ varied areas of expertise — is not one to miss.

Click here to listen to episode 11.

Episode 10: A Policy Vision for Ending Waste (October 11, 2021)

On this latest episode of Sustainably Speaking, we dive into the importance of national legislation for creating a circular economy in the U.S. to prevent waste from entering the environment. From modernizing our infrastructure and enabling next generation automobiles, plastics play a critical part in a lower carbon future. But given that plastics’ national recycling rate is low, how can we move the United States toward a more sustainable, circular economy?

Host Joshua Baca is joined by Chris Jahn, president and CEO of ACC, and Laura Chamorro, general manager of polyethylene at Shell Polymers, to discuss an innovative, new legislative proposal aimed at improving sustainability efforts and our ability to prevent and recycle waste at scale.

Click here to listen to Episode 10

Episode 9: Preventing Food Waste (September 27, 2021)

On this latest episode of the Sustainably Speaking podcast, we discuss critical issues related to community health and sustainability — food waste and food insecurity. Every day, millions of Americans lack access to fresh, nutritious food, yet each year 30 to 40 percent of food is wasted on average. One of the major contributors? Insufficient or improper food packaging. However, support from local food banks and advancements in sustainable plastic packaging can help delay spoilage across the production cycle, bringing fresh meats, produce, and dairy products to underserved communities.

Host Joshua Baca is joined by John Kreger, Chief Operating Officer at the Montgomery County (TX) Food Bank, to discuss the role sustainable plastic packaging plays in extending shelf life and preventing food loss.

Click here to listen to Episode 9

Episode 8: Investing in a Circular Economy (September 13, 2021)

On the latest episode of Sustainably Speaking, we discuss how companies are ramping up their efforts to reduce plastic waste by both investing in and innovating for a circular economy. How is this happening? Companies and funds are accelerating investment in recycling infrastructure and innovative technologies (like advanced recycling), with the goal of increasing the amount of plastic that can be recycled into new products and materials, again and again.

Host Joshua Baca is joined by Julie Zaniewski, North America Sustainability Director for Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics, and Bridget Croke, Managing Director of Closed Loop Partners, to discuss private sector efforts to achieve more sustainable practices and the role of a circular economy in sustainability.

Click here to listen to Episode 8.

Episode 7: Advanced Recycling: Combining Science and Sustainability (August 30, 2021)

On the last episode of Sustainably Speaking, we discussed how advanced recycling helps communities find new uses and value in used plastics while keeping plastic waste out of the environment. How does this process work? Advanced recycling companies rely on scientists to help inform their technologies, processes, data and analysis... all necessary to creating a circular economy for plastics.

On this episode of Sustainably Speaking, Joshua Baca is joined by Dr. Rachel Meidl of Rice University’s Baker Institute and Dr. Marco Castaldi of City College of New York to dive into the science behind advanced recycling, how it differs from traditional recycling, what it means for the lifecycle of plastic materials and the role it plays in circularity.

Click here to listen to Episode 7.

Episode 6: Innovating for the Environment (August 16, 2021)

Many plastics can be recycled through familiar methods – throw it in the bin at the curb and it gets ground up and reformed into something new. But what about other plastics that can’t go in the bin, like flower pots, CD cases and chip pouches?

On this episode of Sustainably Speaking, Joshua Baca talks with GreenMantra Chief Commercial Officer Domenic Di Mondo and Cyclyx Senior Vice President Bill Cooper about advanced recycling – emerging technologies that are converting hard-to-recycle plastics into new products, keeping more waste out of the environment and creating jobs right here in our communities.

Click here to listen to Episode 6.

Episode 5: Doing More With Less: Circularity and Energy Efficiency (August 2, 2021)

Did you know that your empty yogurt cup or takeout container may have a second life as a suitcase or playground slide? As our society evolves toward treating waste as a valuable resource, used plastics are making a growing contribution to sustainability. Companies and brands are increasingly giving waste another life, harnessing the power of innovation to make new products using recycled plastics, including foam insulation for more energy-efficient buildings. Not only does use of this insulating material help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it also can help save money on our utility bills.

On this episode of Sustainably Speaking, Joshua Baca, host and American Chemistry Council’s vice president of plastics, speaks with Huntsman CEO Peter Huntsman about how manufacturers like Huntsman are leading the charge on advancing circularity and contributing to a more resilient and sustainable infrastructure.

Click here to listen to Episode 5.

Episode 4: Our Lower-Carbon Future (July 19, 2021)

Lowering carbon emissions and supporting company pledges to improve sustainability are big challenges, and we’ll need cutting-edge, 21st century infrastructure and supporting technologies to achieve these ambitious targets. Fortunately, the world has seen a rapid increase in the development of these technologies over the last decade. While you may not realize it, some important forms of renewable infrastructure, such as solar panels and wind turbines, depend on plastic to produce sustainable energy more efficiently.

On this episode of Sustainably Speaking, host Joshua Baca, American Chemistry Council’s vice president, plastics, speaks with Christine Bryant, Covestro’s senior vice president of polyurethanes, about how manufacturers are innovating and collaborating across industries to invest in the materials needed to modernize our infrastructure while lowering our carbon footprint.

Click here to listen to Episode 4.

Episode 3: Creating a Circular Economy (July 5, 2021)

Circularity and sustainability go hand in hand. As America’s Plastic Makers® continue to work towards a circular economy for plastics, a major focus will be on innovating to achieve carbon reductions and recycling and remanufacturing used plastic so it doesn’t end up in landfills and oceans. One of America’s Plastic Makers, Eastman Chemical, is developing high-performing products that can be recycled again and again – keeping more plastic out of the environment and lowering their carbon footprint.

On this episode of Sustainably Speaking, host Joshua Baca speaks with Eastman Chemical CEO Mark Costa to discuss innovative plastics technology. Joshua and Mark dive into how Eastman’s materials help promote circularity in fashion, food and beverage packaging, and automotive, as well as how we can move forward innovative strategies like advanced recycling.

Click here to listen to Episode 3.

Episode 2: The EVolution (June 21, 2021)

Each year, we've seen automakers add more electric vehicles to their lineup as they transform cars into high tech and low impact mobility masterpieces. But did you know plastic is already playing a major role in this transition? Durable, lightweight plastic materials are enabling our shift to a low carbon future by helping to increase fuel efficiency and enabling the production of electric vehicle components.

On this episode of Sustainably Speaking, host Joshua Baca speaks with Dr. Debra Mielewski, Technical Fellow of Sustainability at Ford, and Paul Snyder, Chairman of the Transportation Design Department at the College for Creative Studies, about what sustainability means in the auto industry and how plastic producers and automakers like Ford and Covestro are working together to design the vehicles of the future.

Click here to listen to Episode 2.

Episode 1: The Road to Circularity (June 7, 2021)

What is sustainability, what is circularity, and how do they impact your daily life?

On this episode of Sustainably Speaking, host Joshua Baca of America’s Plastic Makers®, NOVA Chemicals Director of Sustainability Sarah Marshall, and McKinsey Partner Jeremy Wallach discuss the importance of reducing plastic waste by creating and maintaining a circular economy for plastics. Listen in as they dive into what it means to create a system where no plastic materials are wasted and how America’s Plastic Makers are making it possible through our Guiding Principles and Roadmap to Reuse

Click here to listen to Episode 1.

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About Joshua

Joshua Baca is Vice President of ACC’s Plastics Division, where he oversees strategic programs to advance a science-based policy agenda, national outreach, and sustainability initiatives on behalf of America’s leading plastics makers. He fosters multi-stakeholder dialogue around helping to end plastic waste by creating a more circular economy. Joshua regularly works across a number of industries to encourage plastics’ advantages in key markets, such as automotive, building and construction, and packaging, and innovations that are helping to address some of our world’s greatest sustainability challenges.

About Mia

Mia Quinn is the Senior Director of ACC's Plastics Division. She leads efforts to communicate the plastics industry’s major sustainability initiatives. She works to bring together experts to share insights in key areas of sustainability, including public policy, product design, recycling, and infrastructure. She is passionate about collaboration, clear communications, and engaging audiences to learn more about and advocate for innovation and modern solutions for our communities and our country

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