How a circular economy can help shift the plastics industry agenda

In this episode of the Sustainability Matters podcast, the speakers discuss technologies enabling greater plastic recyclability and closing the loop in the value chain.

Each year, the world produces 300 million tons of plastics, however, just 20% of it ends up back for recycling, with even less actually getting recycled. As plastics are an important part of improving the quality of life for a growing population and aren’t going anywhere, how can we solve the plastics crisis with circular solutions? And how can major plastics companies play a leading role in the solution?

In the latest episode of the Sustainability Matters podcast, we look specifically at the case of Eastman Chemical Company’s commitment and investment in circular solutions to help address the plastics crisis. Host, Bruno Sarda, and Velislava Ivanova, EY Americas Chief Sustainability Officer, and Climate Change and Sustainability Services Leader, are joined by Brad Lich, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Eastman, to discuss Eastman’s innovative approach to closing the plastics value chain loop.

Lich begins the discussion by explaining why circularity is a core part of Eastman’s business strategy. He explains the importance of recycling in closing the loop in the value chain, focusing on molecular recycling and how it complements traditional mechanical recycling. Lich stresses that the innovation to solve the plastics and recycling problem isn’t decades away, it is happening today through these circular and innovative solutions.

Lich and Ivanova discuss how no single company or industry can find solutions to the plastic pollution crisis on their own. The key for any industry wishing to move toward a circular model is to develop collaborations and partnerships.

Key takeaways:

  • Adopting circular production is key to managing waste and tackling climate change.
  • Innovation to make plastics truly circular is happening today.
  • Demand for circular solutions in the plastics industry is rising, as customers push for greener products.
  • Molecular recycling complements traditional mechanical recycling by addressing its shortcomings and avoiding end-of-life.
  • New innovative recycling technologies lower greenhouse gas impact in comparison to traditional processes
  • Collaboration among companies, NGOs and regulators is essential to drive investments and find solutions. No company can do it alone.
  • Companies need to embed circularity into their future strategies and have top-down commitment from senior leadership.

You can also listen to this podcast on Apple and Spotify.

For your convenience, full text transcript of this podcast is also available.


Season 5, Episode 2


23m 1s