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Earth Day 2024: A Closer Look at Sustainability Efforts


As the 54th annual Earth Day approaches, the American National Standards Institute takes a closer look at how its members, government, and industry are taking initiatives to the next level to reduce our collaborative footprint around the planet.

Re-thinking Production and Consumption

Initiatives across a number of government agencies and private-sector organizations are in motion to promote a circular economy. ANSI recently reported that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded nearly $3 million in total to several universities to create curricula and programs that will train students to “discover and develop solutions to problems presented by our current approaches to the production and consumption of plastics.” Ultimately, the effort is aimed at advancing the future workforce needed to develop a circular economy for plastic.

Last year, NIST, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy, and others, convened stakeholders from across the polymers/plastics value chain to focus on improving the management of plastic products and packaging (workshop recording is available).

In the private sector, SAE International will soon convene a Battery Lifecycle Summit, a free online event dedicated to battery recycling. And the NextG Alliance, an initiative of the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), recently released a white paper, “Evolution of Sustainability Indicators for Next-Generation Radio Network Technologies,” with recommendations for operational key performance indicators (KPIs) that the ICT industry can use to benchmark progress toward achieving environmental sustainability and climate action goals.

Standards Support Greater Sustainability

Recycling equates to energy savings. Did you know that recycling just 10 plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a laptop for more than 25 hours? And recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours.

The international standard ISO 15270:2008, Plastics - Guidelines for the recovery and recycling of plastics waste, provides guidance for the development of standards and specifications covering plastics waste recovery, including recycling. It also establishes the different options for the recovery of plastics waste arising from pre-consumer and post-consumer sources. The standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 61, Plastics. ANSI is a participating member of TC 61, and ASTM International is the administrator of the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for this TC.

Another standard, 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. This document was developed by ASTM.

A standard developed by CSA America, CSA Z754, Guideline for Pollution Prevention, provides guidance to organizations of all types and sizes for the development and implementation of pollution prevention programs, including an overview of programs and the key elements and steps involved in establishing a program. It also examines the relationship between an organization’s Environmental Management System (EMS) and its pollution prevention program.

As ANSI recently reported on efforts that supported the International Day of Zero Waste, various ANSI members and standards developers have created standards that support waste management, including those covering standard terminology for waste and waste management, and terminology for agricultural waste and by-product management, among others.

Read more about 2024 Earth Day and how to get involved.


Related News:

International Day of Zero Waste: ANSI Recognizes Sustainability Efforts

Supporting the Circular Economy: NIST Awards Nearly $3 Million to Education Programs Focused on Plastic Waste Reduction


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]