Strong, lightweight plastics contribute to sustainability in countless ways—all of which stem from their ability to help us do more with less. Plastic packaging helps to dramatically extend the shelf life of fresh, nutritious foods and beverages while allowing us to ship more product with less packaging material. Plastics can significantly reduce energy use while lowering greenhouse gas emissions by making our homes and cars significantly more energy and fuel efficient. And plastics deliver clean, safe drinking water while helping to make health care more affordable, so more people can have access to the devices they need to live safely and get the most out of life. However, we can’t realize all of plastics sustainability benefits if we don’t keep plastic waste out of our environment. ICCA members agree with UNEA, APEC, the G-20, G-7 and a growing number of scientists and experts that to end marine plastic pollution we must invest in improved municipal solid waste management, including providing solutions in emerging economies where investment in waste management infrastructure has not kept pace with rapidly growing consumer populations.
Global Plastics Industry Action
The ICCA is engaged in a number of activities and partnerships to promote the ethic of sustainability and the responsible use of plastics.
Many of our member companies have joined the new Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a new global nonprofit to invest in waste management. Alliance members have committed over $1 billion to this work, with a goal of $1.5 billion over the next five years to help solve this problem. Many also are members of the World Plastics Council, a forum for industry leadership and to accelerate cooperation and alignment that will deliver improved outcomes for the common benefit of the plastics industry, consumers and society. And, since 2011 our industry has partnered in many efforts to research and prevent marine debris around the world under our “Declaration of the Global Plastics Solutions for Solutions on Marine Litter,” which has been signed by 75 plastics associations in 40 countries. Our 2018 Progress Report lists more than 355 projects that have been completed or are in progress in various parts of the world since the effort began. ICCA remains committed to achieving the safe management of chemicals and waste globally, but change is needed to ensure the recycling, recovery and reuse of plastics so that they do not contaminate our environment or end up in our oceans.