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Science to Enable Sustainable Plastics

Plastics are an essential part of modern life and an indispensable tool in sustainable development. Plastics manufacturing requires not only petrochemical feedstocks but also energy. Thus, their manufacture contributes to overall industrial CO2 emissions. For many members of the general public, plastics now epitomize a disposable way of life and are associated with cheap, low-quality, and low-value products. The visible evidence of plastic pollution and as yet unknown impacts of these materials are driving a reconsideration of their life cycles, designs, and uses. Technical solutions will be needed to ensure that in future plastics combine useful properties with better end-of-life options, and chemistry will play a central role in delivering these. 

The authors of this white paper emphasize that technology alone cannot provide all solutions and that parallel advances in waste management, regulation, economics, and behaviour will be needed to deliver the infrastructure and ecosystems for a sustainable plastics future. They signal that experts in chemistry are well placed to provide impartial evidence for policymaking and standardization of plastics, as well as in environmental monitoring and detection.

Learn more about the research challenges and solutions to the plastic waste management problem by reading the full report HERE

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Chemical Sciences and Society Summit

June 11, 2020
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