May 28

Plastics Weekly: Machine Learning May Help Tackle Plastic Pollution

Editorial Staff
Mar 28, 2023

Welcome to the Plastics Weekly, NEO’s regular news monitoring of the plastics industry.

This week’s highlights:
  • Can machine learning tackle plastic pollution? Compostable plastics, including wrappers and packaging, may contaminate conventional plastic waste in the recycling process. Now, scientists have developed machine learning methods that can identify compostable plastics among conventional types. Study results showed high success rates, although some materials were identified more reliably than others, reports Frontiers. (World Economic Forum)
  • 31 trade associations from the plastics industry are pushing for the EU to be clear on how it legally views chemical recycling and how recycled content is tracked in plastic products. The tracking of recycled content is a major issue, with the industry pressing for the legal acknowledgement of a mass balance approach that excludes fuel use. This push for policy support from the European Commission and EU member states for chemical recycling could help speed investment and add more overall plastic recycling capability. (ICIS)
  • The Biden administration is planning to boost US capacity to make plastics, chemicals, foods, fuels and other products using biological processes in an effort to keep pace in the global biomanufacturing race. Among the White House’s goals is to use living organisms to make at least 30% of chemicals and be able to displace more than 90% of plastics within the next two decades. Bio-based processes have the potential to generate as much as $4 trillion in annual US economic impact over the next 10-20 years, according to a McKinsey & Co. projection. (Bloomberg)
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