The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) is the only organization that supports the entire plastics supply chain, including Equipment Suppliers, Material Suppliers, Processors and Recyclers, representing over one million workers in our $468 billion U.S. industry. PLASTICS advances the priorities of our members who are dedicated to investing in technologies that improve capabilities and advances in recycling and sustainability and providing essential products that allow for the protection and safety of our lives.
Since 1937, The Plastics Industry Association has been working to make its members, and the sixth largest U.S. manufacturing industry, more globally competitive while supporting circularity and sustainability as top priorities through educational initiatives, industry-leading insights and events, convening opportunities and policy advocacy, including the largest plastics trade show in the Americas, NPE2024 The Plastics Show.
PLASTICS supports international efforts to promote the elimination of plastic waste from the environment. We welcome the opportunity to participate in the global discussions taking place in Paris, and hope to add to the collaborative contributions of the negotiations.
Plastic is essential to the health, safety, protection and well-being of humanity. Plastic materials and products possess unique technical properties that are unparalleled. From a range of consumer products used in our everyday lives to food packaging, to implantable medical devices and more, plastics provide incomparable safety, versatility and reliability. Plastic also offers environmental advantages over other materials and can be reused, recycled, and repurposed.
PLASTICS hopes to achieve a more global, circular economy, that prioritizes a safe and waste-free environment, through the establishment of a collaborative and inclusive approach to negotiations at the UN Environmental Assembly.
PLASTICS welcomes the process of the UNEA and, in accordance with the priorities of our membership, believes the following priorities must be considered in any international agreement:
1. AN ESTABLISHMENT OF THE OFFICIAL RECOGNITION OF THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF PLASTIC AND ITS GLOBAL ROLE IN PROVIDING HEALTH, SAFETY, PROTECTION AND WELL BEING TO HUMANITY:
Any international agreement should establish that plastic is needed and makes the world a better place. We believe that good faith negotiations are more likely to occur if all sides agree that plastic plays a major role in our societies and should be embraced for all of the good that it does. The focus of discussions should be entirely on reducing plastic waste in the environment, especially marine environments.
2. AMBITIOUS YET REASONABLE GOAL SETTING THAT PRODUCES A FINAL AGREEMENT THE UNITED STATES CAN SIGN AND AGREE TO:
The final agreement must offer an end result that all countries can look to as a reasonable, attainable set of guidelines, and not one that causes multi-country divisiveness or quests to externally govern over regulations that are established internally by a particular country. Overreaching, one-size-fits-all determinations rarely work and in the case of waste management, the vast differences across the globe clearly illustrate that national action plans must be the driver of progress. Countries must be free to make decisions that are in their own best interest while striving to achieve the goals of the overall agreement. Plastic waste is without a doubt an international concern and it is imperative that the world works together to achieve success.
3. ACHIEVING IDEAL OUTCOMES THROUGH CONSISTENT, TRANSPARENT DATA:
Rather than offering an agreement that dictates methods like product or material restrictions, the focus should remain on setting the ideal outcome of preventing plastic waste from entering the environment and encouraging those innovations that achieve or make progress towards meeting those goals. A free market with consistent, transparent information allows the most dynamic and efficient means to an outcome. In addition to setting ambitious but achievable goals, an agreement could include the endeavor to develop standardized terminology and reporting elements to ensure transparency.
4. PRODUCTION POLICY MUST BE ABOUT FOSTERING CIRCULARITY AND NOT ABOUT CAPS OR BANS:
Plastic production has boomed because of the value and essential need for plastic. It’s often the least expensive option because it takes the least amount of material and energy to produce as well as transport. Its unmatched properties and versatility have allowed for incredible innovations that conserve resources and make more things in life possible.
Trying to limit plastic production will stifle that innovation and result in the production and use of less environmentally friendly alternatives. Instead, the focus should be on fostering a more circular economy where even controlled plastic waste is valued for what it can achieve. Any international agreement that makes circularity a priority will be more successful.
5. SOLUTIONS THROUGH PARTNERSHIP:
Achieving the goal of eliminating plastic waste in the environment can only be achieved through collaboration and support of all aspects of society, including industry, academia and thought leaders, civil society and the government. The final product of these negotiations should be a consensus agreement and not solely a political statement that lacks the aspiration to actually formulate attainable solutions.
The following quotes can be attributed to PLASTICS leadership, who will be present through the negotiations taking place in Paris:
“Plastic is an essential material that makes our lives better and our industry believes any molecule of plastic material that leaves the economy is a waste. We support international efforts to promote the elimination of plastic waste from the environment and welcome the opportunity to participate in the global discussions, but any agreement must start with acknowledging the essential nature of plastic.”
–Matt Seaholm, President and CEO of PLASTICS
“Plastic has become the preferred material in most industries because it uses the least resources to manufacture and transport and provides the best performance compared with other materials. The plastic industry is committed to keeping plastic waste out of the environment and in the circular economy which is why we invest billions of dollars in the prevention of waste and the technologies to recycle. We look forward to contributing to the global discussions and working together to eliminate plastic waste in the environment.”
–Patrick Krieger, Vice President of Sustainability, PLASTICS
The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) is the only organization that supports the entire plastics supply chain, including Equipment Suppliers, Material Suppliers, Processors and Recyclers, representing over one million workers in our $468 billion U.S. industry. PLASTICS advances the priorities of our members who are dedicated to investing in technologies that improve capabilities and advances in recycling and sustainability and providing essential products that allow for the protection and safety of our lives. Since 1937, PLASTICS has been working to make its members, and the sixth largest U.S. manufacturing industry, more globally competitive while supporting circularity through educational initiatives, industry-leading insights and events, convening opportunities and policy advocacy, including the largest plastics trade show in the Americas, NPE2024: The Plastics Show