Keeping Plastics Out of the Environment
America’s Plastic Makers® are committed to doing our part to end plastic waste in the environment. Solving this multi-dimensional global plastic waste problem requires an “all hands-on deck” approach, so we are working and partnering with scientists, conservation groups and government agencies from across the globe toward real, workable solutions that lead to a future in which all plastics are recovered and repurposed to benefit people and our planet. We want to be clear: Plastic waste in our environment—in our ocean—is unacceptable, and we’re doing something about it.
Learn more about our efforts in California:
Here are four steps America’s Plastic Makers are taking to end plastic waste in the environment:
We agree plastic waste is a problem, but are bans the best solution?
Plastics are so widely used in packaging because they’re strong and lightweight, so they help us do more with less. Specifically, plastics can protect and allow us to ship more product with less packaging material than alternatives. Using less packaging material in the first place also means reducing transportation energy, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste.
Bans aren’t the right solutions because if we weren’t able to use plastics, we’d have to use heavier substitutes for many items. Research shows that on average, the combined weight of substitutes would weigh about 4.5 times more than plastics. In the United States alone, using plastics in packaging instead of alternatives saves: as much greenhouse gas emissions as taking 8.4 million cars off the roads; enough energy to heat 48 million homes; as much as 290,000 jumbo jets worth of waste by weight, and as much as 461,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water in production1.
But we must stop the flow of trash into our oceans in order for plastics’ important environmental benefits to be fully realized. America’s Plastics Makers are working across the United States and around the world to help solve this problem.
Experts say up to 60% of plastic waste comes from just five countries. Although the United States accounts for less than 1% of trash in the ocean, we are committed to working with communities so that 100% of plastic packaging is reused, recycled or recovered.