Reimagining Recycling: What the Experts Have to Say

Achieving a circular economy requires smart policy, a national recycling strategy, and modernized recycling systems.
Blue recycling bins

Did you catch Axios’ discussion on “Reimagining Recycling?” A Member of Congress and recycling experts discussed how policymakers and private sector leaders can partner to eliminate plastic waste and chart a path toward a circular economy.

You can watch it below.

Key participants included:

  • U.S. Representative Haley Stevens, (MI-11-D), Member of the House Committee on Science, Space & Technology and Founder, Congressional Plastics Solutions Task Force
  • Bridget Croke, Managing Director, Closed Loop Partners
  • Keefe Harrison, Founder & CEO, The Recycling Partnership
  • Axios Co-founder & CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a “View from the Top” segment with Chris Jahn, President & CEO, American Chemistry Council

During the event, the panelists discussed the scope and scale of the plastic waste issue, the need for smart public policies and a national recycling strategy, and how the private sector is already taking steps to invest in the advanced recycling technologies and systems needed to move from a linear economy to a circular economy for plastics.

“The circular economy is something that is meant to be a business solution… If we can scale a circular supply chain it should be cost effective for everybody involved,” said Bridget Croke, managing director, Closed Loop Partners.

Throughout the event, experts agreed the U.S. recycling system needs to be modernized and that consumers, policymakers and companies need to change the way they think about plastic waste and to treat it as a valuable resource.

“We can take those products and break them back down into their basic building blocks and then reuse them for new products,” said Chris Jahn, president & CEO of the American Chemistry Council during the event.

Keefe Harrison, founder and CEO of The Recycling Partnership, added, “If we model our economy around that circular system… we start to see opportunities to make sure that we’re thinking about the design and delivery of goods.”

According to U.S. Representative Haley Stevens (MI-11-D), “We have an opportunity to create and enhance a more robust recycling infrastructure in the United States of America, this is a job opportunity for us.”

Rep. Stevens’ bipartisan Congressional Plastics Solutions Task Force has brought a breadth of stakeholders to the table – including companies, bottle manufacturers and nonprofits. The panelists discussed how this problem cannot be solved by one industry but will require collaboration from stakeholders across the full value chain to create an environment free of plastic waste.

To help chart the path, in October of this year, the ACC launched its Guiding Principles and Roadmap to Reuse that provide policy solutions and tangible actions for all stakeholders to move toward eliminating plastic waste. Click here to learn more.

Continue to visit America’s Plastic Makers: Making Sustainable ChangeSM to learn more about the steps we are taking to help end plastic waste, build a circular economy for plastics and create a more sustainable future.