ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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As Earth Day 2018 Focuses on Ending Plastic Pollution, ANSI Members Support Sustainability Efforts


04/20/2018

Reducing plastic waste can lead to cleaner oceans, better drainage systems, and even safer roadways—and improve the livelihood of wildlife and humans across the planet. As Earth Day 2018 on April 22 focuses on ways to put an end to plastic pollution, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) highlights how its members, standards developers, and experts within the standardization community help support a safer environment through standards and initiatives related to plastic recycling.

The Problem of Plastic Waste

While plastics have revolutionized every industry and myriad products that add comfort, convenience, and safety to our everyday lives, its waste is a global problem requiring collaborative solutions. Plastic pollution in landfills, oceans, beaches, streams, and parks leaves toxins in the environment and causes significant harm to ecosystems.

A recent study in Science on plastic waste’s impact on marine life found that the likelihood of disease increases from 4 percent to 89 percent when corals are in contact with plastic. With plastic pollution on the upswing, the estimated 11.1 billion plastic items that are entangled on coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific region is expected to increase 40 percent by 2025. This in turn threatens the marine species that depend on coral reefs for their nutrients and livelihood.

Another recent study examined a major ocean plastic accumulation zone found in the subtropical waters between California and Hawaii, an area recognized by researchers as "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch." It is estimated that 1.15 to 2.41 million tons of plastic are entering the ocean each year from rivers. The mass of plastic waste in "the patch" region is estimated to be approximately 80,000 tons—the weight equivalent to that of 500 jumbo jets.

ANSI Member Efforts Support Plastic Pollution Sustainability

In an effort to address plastic pollution and its detrimental impact on life, Earth Day this year is dedicated to providing information and inspiration needed to "fundamentally change human attitude and behavior about plastics."

Many ANSI members and standards developers support reversing the plastic pollution impact with a commitment to sustainability through education, standards, and other guidelines. In 2018 for example, the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), a member and accredited standards developer, announced the adoption of its first-ever Sustainability Statement that codifies the association's dedication to sustainability. The statement encourages all companies engaged in plastics manufacturing to make sustainability a guiding principle at all levels of operation.

“We want to provide our members with a guiding principle for how they should integrate sustainability into their operations,” said PLASTICS vice president of sustainability, Kim Holmes. “Further, we want people to understand PLASTICS’ ongoing and tireless efforts to help improve sustainability in our industry.”

In a collaborative effort to help increase industry awareness about plastic recycling, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), an ANSI member, and the North American Plastics Recycling Alliance (NAPRA) teamed with partners that include ANSI members PLASTICS, the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) to develop a three-part webinar series. The educational sessions give manufacturers the tools and resources they need to increase use of recycled plastics. Access more information and the webinar video.

Standards also support sustainable plastics recycling. For example, ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International's ASTM D5577-94 (2010) e1, Standard Guideline for techniques to separate and identify contaminants in recycled plastics, provides information on available methods for the separation and classification of contaminants such as moisture, incompatible polymers, metals, adhesives, glass, paper, wood, chemicals, and original-product residues in recycled plastic flakes or pellets.

In addition, the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) ISO 15270:2008, Plastics-Guidelines for the recovery and recycling of plastics and waste, provides guidance for the development of standards and specifications covering plastics waste recovery, including recycling. This standard establishes the different options for the recovery of plastics waste arising from pre-consumer and post-consumer sources. It also establishes the quality requirements that should be considered in all steps of the recovery process, and provides general recommendations for inclusion in material standards, test standards, and product specifications.

ANSI is the U.S. member body to ISO. ISO Technical Committee (TC) 61, Subcommittee (SC) 14, Plastics and environment, developed the standard. ASTM International serves as the TAG administrator to ISO TC 61 SC 14.

Read more about Earth Day's focus to End Plastic Pollution.

Keywords

ANSI members    ASTM International    Earth Day    ISO    manufacturing    NAM    Plastics    sustainability   
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