I know it seems like we've had a lot of sustainability and recycling stories in Plastics News lately. That's because we have. And because those issues are very much in the news.
Plastics and sustainability even made it into the final statements coming out of this year's G7 meeting, where all seven of the leaders of the top democracies signed on to a statement supporting talks that could lead to a global plastics treaty.
Then there's the split seen between most materials companies and leading packaging firms with the U.S. Plastics Pact. The pact released its road map toward a circular future for plastic packaging last week. But the American Chemistry Council and most of its member companies have balked at the idea of focusing only on some materials, while others would be termed "problematic."
These are big issues, with deadlines looming in the very near future. And as the latest recycling numbers show, maintaining a status quo isn't working. Recycling rates in the U.S. actually dropped 0.5 percent in 2019, according to a new report. Even PET bottles — some of the easiest plastics to recycle — dropped by nearly 40 million pounds in 2019.
I know some of you are fuming about "demonizing" plastics right now, but here's one fact: We can't ignore issues about the lack of a circular economy for plastics and hope it will go away. There's too much work to do.