Thu January 18, 2018

WASHINGTON D.C. —The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) today announced the adoption of its first-ever Sustainability Statement that codifies the association’s dedication to sustainability. The association hopes the statement inspires other like-minded organizations, and plastics companies to make a commitment to these principles and that the statement serves as a beacon to guide the plastics industry toward sustainable practices.

The statement, which was unanimously approved by the association’s leadership, reads:

The Plastics Industry Association encourages all companies engaged in plastics manufacturing to make sustainability a guiding principle at all levels of operation. Sustainable plastic manufacturing conducts business in a way that seeks to drive value creation for society, the environment, and the industry.  It also strives for improvement to reduce impacts on natural resources, minimizing waste generation, and shifting toward renewable energy options; all of which reduces greenhouse gas impacts.  Efforts should be guided by scientific data that measures the impacts of the many lifecycle stages of plastic products, consistent with the values of Sustainable Materials Management, and strive to keep materials in circularity for remanufacturing whenever it yields the greatest environmental benefit.  These activities should be measured and reported with integrity and transparency.

“We want to provide our members with a guiding principle for how they should integrate sustainability into their operations,” said PLASTICS Vice President of Sustainability, Kim Holmes. “Further, we want people to understand PLASTICS’ ongoing and tireless efforts to help improve sustainability in our industry.”

“As a brand owner, we’re familiar with the importance of making a bona fide commitment to sustainability,” said Jay Olson, materials engineering and technology manager at Deere & Company and a member of PLASTICS’ Sustainability Advisory Board. “PLASTICS, however, is unique among manufacturing trade associations for taking the lead and creating a statement that challenges companies in the industry and makes it clear for all to see that this association walks the walk when it comes to promoting sustainable practices.”

Though the statement is the first of its kind for PLASTICS, the organization has been working for many years to increase sustainability in the industry by leading and supporting a number of sustainability initiatives. For example, PLASTICS’ Zero Net Waste program educates companies on how they can turn their waste into valuable resources, or eliminate waste in manufacturing altogether. 

PLASTICS also leads a number of demonstration projects that challenge industries, like automotive and retail, to redefine their supply chain to incorporate more recycled plastics. PLASTICS’ End of Life Vehicle (ELV) project explores the technical and economic feasibility of recovering and recycling plastics from vehicles at the end of their lives, while the Supply Chain Guide to Circularity: Retail Series informs brand retailers about how to incorporate recycled content into high-end packaging and connects them with the full plastics supply chain to find solutions to their recovery challenges.

The association also demonstrates its interest in new end market opportunities for plastic film by funding projects like the Materials Recovery for the Future program, a research collaborative that works to make all flexible plastic film, both thin plastic bags and wrapping material, recyclable curbside and in residential recycling.

These are just a few examples of how PLASTICS is working to create new markets for recycled plastics, ensuring that these materials are always put to their highest and best use, and never wasted.

Learn more about PLASTICS’ recycling and sustainability initiatives here.