Economic output from technologies that recycle and recover plastics could be US$10 billion, suggests American Chemistry Council

Economic output from technologies that recycle and recover plastics could be US$10 billion, suggests American Chemistry Council

March 22, 2019
Marcia González

By bringing used plastics back into the manufacturing system, these technologies are a key enabler in the drive toward a circular economy for plastics

A report released this week by the American Chemistry Council finds the potential economic impact of expanding advanced plastic recycling and recovery technologies in the USA to be nearly US$10 billion. The report examines a burgeoning class of technologies that convert used plastics into a range of products and raw materials such as chemicals and chemical feed-stocks for new plastics, lower-carbon transportation fuels, and other petroleum-based commodities.

According to the report, Economic Impact of Advanced Plastics Recycling and Recovery Facilities in the US, if widely adopted, these processes could result in nearly 40,000 direct and indirect US jobs, as much as US$2.2 billion in annual payroll, and another US$9.9 billion in direct and indirect economic output.

“Advanced plastic recycling and recovery technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we make, use, and reuse our plastic resources,” said Steve Russell, ACC’s vice president of plastics. “These technologies further demonstrate the untapped value of used plastics and have the potential to dramatically accelerate our transition to a circular economy.”

“Expanding advanced plastic recycling and recovery facilities could create thousands of US jobs, result in billions of dollars in economic output, and eliminate the landfilling of 6.5 million tons of post-use recoverable plastics each year,” predicted Priyanka Bakaya, founder and CEO of Renewlogy and chair of the Plastics-to-Fuel and Petrochemistry Alliance, which commissioned the study.

Several major plastics makers and energy companies have recently announced investments and/or agreements with advanced plastic recycling and recovery technology providers, which are helping to demonstrate and scale these processes.

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