Circularity Is Our Future

How a Circular Economy for Plastics Can Help Drive Down Waste, Greenhouse Gases, and Use of Fossil Resources

It’s time to change the way plastics are made. And remade.

While innovation has made plastics vital to modern life, plastic packaging and products too often end up in our environment, tossed in our ocean where currents carry them across the globe. This presents a serious challenge that has some people questioning the continued utility of this essential, modern material.

This serious challenge requires real solutions.

From Linear to Circular

To help keep plastics out of our environment, we need to move from a “linear” economy to a “circular” economy.

Today, the primary journey of many materials including plastics is linear: make, use, and discard. Products made from these materials get buried, burned, or lost to our environment. Not a sustainable economy.

We need to change that journey to “make, use, and remake.” Over and over, in a circular journey. In a “circular economy” in which plastics are reused instead of discarded.

What does circularity mean?

Circularity means using plastics (or any resource) more efficiently by keeping the material in use for as long as possible, getting the most we can from the material during its use, and then recovering it to make new products. We keep the molecules in play. This gives a product a circular life, greatly reducing its chances of becoming waste… and helping keep it out of our environment.

Circularity is simple, but it requires making sustainable changes.

There are multiple steps that can accelerate our drive toward circularity, such as:

  • Choosing materials with a lighter environmental footprint (often such as lightweight, efficient plastics).
  • Rethinking how products are made, designed, and used.
  • Designing products that can be reused and/or recycled.
  • Capturing materials at the end of their useful life to keep them in play and out of our environment.
  • And using conventional and advanced recycling to remake these materials into new materials to be used again and again… reducing and displacing the need to extract limited natural resources.

Making Sustainable Change

As America’s Plastic Makers, we’re making sustainable change to help create a circular economy. We’re finding new ways to make plastics lighter, stronger, more efficient… and more recyclable, which helps further drive down greenhouse gas emissions. We’re changing business models to embrace circularity. We’re investing billions of dollars in new ways to recycle the 90% of plastics that aren’t recycled today. And we’re empowering our scientists, engineers, technicians, and innovators – America’s Change MakersSM – to combine innovation with sustainability to create solutions.

A circular economy for plastics can help drive down waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and use of fossil resources. All while we continue to create the essential products we need to build a more sustainable infrastructure for our loved ones today and for future generations.

Our Future

Circularity is our future. It’s not a passing fad. It’s the innovative, sustainable way of making things that leads to a cleaner, safer, healthier future.

It’s where we’re headed. This is our journey. Join us.

Additional Resources

Learn more below about what we’re doing to create a circular economy for plastics.