Symposium Aims to Identify Enabling Conditions to Achieve a Circular Plastics Economy and Responsibly Manage Plastic Waste

HANGZHOU, CHINA (September 18, 2019) – Experts from various regions, sectors, and backgrounds are gathering in Hangzhou, China today to discuss how closing the loop on plastic waste can address one of today’s most pressing environmental challenges. Hosted by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and UN Environment, and supported by the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF), this workshop aims to identify barriers to plastic recycling, and determine technical solutions, as well as policies and regulations, that enable a circular plastic economy.

“The global challenge of responsibly managing plastic waste requires a concerted action by all stakeholders, including government, academia, non-governmental organizations, industry, and consumers,” said Ruihe Tu, Head of UNEP China Office, UN Environment Beijing Office. “Identifying obstacles impeding the circular economy is critical to curbing the estimated eight million tons of plastic waste entering the environment every year.”

The Symposium follows the 2018 joint Circular Economy Symposium in Chengdu, which brought together a similar group of stakeholders in an effort to reach a common understanding and define the conditions needed to achieve circularity and make progress towards the sound management of chemicals and waste. As defined by last year’s workshop, circularity aims to ensure that products and materials are continuously cycled to eliminate waste while creating value for all. It also aims to decouple economic development from the consumption of finite resources and from environmental impacts. As chemistry provides the building blocks for more than 96 percent of all manufactured goods, the chemical industry plays an integral role in reimagining the products, technologies, resources, and systems that will power a circular economy.

“The chemical industry is essential for achieving and delivering a circular economy,” said Cal Dooley, ICCA Secretariat. “Reaching this global vision will take time, collaboration, and resolve. Progress must include not only the responsible and efficient use of energy and natural resources, but also harnessing the innovative solutions made possible by chemistry that unlock the value of materials traditional viewed as waste.”

The Symposium will include a variety of speakers representing the chemical industry, downstream waste-solution experts, various governments, and members of the academic community. The goal is to share best-practices from different countries and stakeholders who have responsibly managed plastic waste in some capacity. This also includes an overview of current global and Chinese policy actions on plastic products and plastic waste management, and the environmental and industry impact these policies have made.

“By working together, we can achieve a circular economy in which resources and materials are continuously cycled to eliminate waste while creating value for all,” said Mr. Li Shousheng, Chairman, CPCIF. “It takes collaboration, innovation, and investment. From developing policy frameworks that enable public-private partnerships, to enhancing investments in chemicals and waste management, together we will identify the conditions needed to make progress towards the sound management of chemicals and waste and advance a circular plastic economy on a global scale.”

About UN Environment
The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment (www.unenvironment.org).

About ICCA
The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) is an association of innovators, visionaries, solutions providers and product stewardship pioneers. Through ongoing innovation in chemistry and the constant improvement of safe chemicals management, the global chemical industry makes a significant contribution to a sustainable society: improving human health, protecting the environment, and delivering prosperity worldwide. Learn more about ICCA at www.icca-chem.org.