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Mon December 17, 2018

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) issued the following statement in response to the 60 Minutes “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” segment which aired on Sunday, December 16, 2018:

“We can all agree that plastics should not end up as litter in the ocean or anywhere else. The real challenge is making it easier for everyone to better dispose of plastic products by enhancing our recycling and recovery technologies. The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) intends to play a leading role in the domestic solution around plastic waste and recycling, and we applaud the efforts of people like inventor Boyan Slat, whose ambitious idea for cleaning up ocean waste was featured in the 60 Minutes report. It’s important to understand that in addition to cleanup efforts, there is also a need for improved recycling infrastructure in order to capture the material before it ever reaches our waterways.

Currently, the United States is not equipped to handle the volume of plastic recycling needed across our country. That is why we are planning to work with the upcoming 116th Congress to improve our waste disposal systems and invest in modernized recycling programs that can keep plastics and other waste out of our oceans, public spaces and landfills.

PLASTICS recognizes that plastic debris in the ocean is a problem – one that has been exacerbated in recent years by China’s refusal to accept any more of America’s plastic waste. This has led to new business relationships to drive the creation of new technologies like chemical recycling which offer solutions beyond mechanical recycling.

Plastic is a sustainable material, as the technology exists to recycle almost all plastics. But unfortunately, much of what could be recycled is ending up in the ocean or in landfills. The problems in the United States and many countries are outdated waste disposal systems and lack of recycling infrastructure and education.

The use of plastics and environmental sustainability are not mutually exclusive and should not be competing priorities.  For the better part of a century, plastics have revolutionized the way we live. Our goal is to ensure consumers continue to benefit from the efficiencies, lower emissions profile and second life possibilities that these products provide.”