Plastics & Sustainability

We should not only look for easy solutions; fixing one problem today and creating another tomorrow. Long-term vision is important, as is the need to act with urgency and to work collectively towards shared goals.

Plastic is a key material for innovation and for helping us reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change. But any plastic waste in the environment is unacceptable. Plastics must be sustainable.

The plastics industry is accelerating its contribution to the sustainable production and use of plastics, while ensuring plastics continue their positive contribution to healthy societies and growing economies. Action includes reducing plastic waste, promoting reuse, collection and recycling of plastic waste, and accelerating the transition to a circular economy.

The World Plastics Council is determined to implement long-lasting positive change.

While our industry has an essential role to play, this transition is not one we can undertake alone. That is why working hand-in-hand with manufacturers, brand owners, consumers, recyclers and policymakers towards shared goals is so important.

Creators of circularity for a sustainable future

The circular plastics economy recognises the value of plastics as a resource, while creating the least impact on the climate. It is one of the keys to tackling plastic waste.

Accelerating the transition to a circular economy is vital. To do so, the power of innovation and technology to significantly increase reuse and recycling must be harnessed. For example, by creating more recyclable products and more innovative recycling techniques.

A circular plastics economy also requires policy and regulation – one which promotes harmonised collection and mechanical recycling. In addition, more focused and increased investment in key technologies like chemical recycling must be encouraged and supported.

Enabling climate neutrality

The severity of the climate crisis requires urgent action to successfully mitigate the impact of climate change through the creation of a low-carbon economy.

The plastics industry is already contributing towards Europe’s climate ambitions. CO2 emissions are reduced by the use of plastics in most applications. Plastics help decrease energy consumption and emissions in the building and construction and transport sectors. Furthermore, plastics are enabling the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy through their use in wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles.

More efficient production processes more energy and resource-efficient are making operations more sustainable. For example, using renewable energy and alternative feedstock from waste and renewable resources are reducing the need for natural resources. Meanwhile, technology such as carbon capture solutions are accelerating the transition to a circular economy.

Inspiring sustainable living – from next-generation building materials to recyclable trainers

Plastics are at the heart of an expanding range of innovations that contribute to sustainability, safety, longer lives and better performance in our everyday lives. From the point of purchase through to end-of-life, plastics provide tangible benefits to society and the environment through sustainable use.

The role of plastics in healthcare

Modern healthcare would be impossible without the many plastic-based medical products we take for granted. Plastics are everywhere, from personal protective equipment, sterile syringes, and intravenous blood bags. Other uses include IV tubes, heart valves, ‘artificial skin’ for emergency burns treatment, and slow drug release plastic pills. Innovations in plastics are also making new advances in healthcare possible.

Innovating for the future

For over 100 years, science and innovation have been at the heart of everything we do. New and exciting innovations in plastics have contributed to sustainability advances across many sectors. Examples include recycled materials for packaging to creating sustainable homes.

Innovation, together with significant investments in R&D, process technology and environmental protection is accelerating the sustainable production and use of plastics.

Article originally posted on