ASTM | Plastics and the Circular Economy


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The recycling of plastic is critical to the world’s move away from a linear economy and toward a circular one. New and revised standards from ASTM International will support the transition.

As society and world governments further embrace sustainability, increasing emphasis is being placed on the move from a linear to a circular economy.

For centuries, the global economy has been linear, taking, making, and discarding materials, often as single-use products. According to the World Bank, each year the world produces over 2 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste, much of which ends up in landfills. Wealthy countries, which represent about 16% of the world’s population, create 34%, or 683 million tonnes, of waste overall. Of the waste from these countries, 51% consists of materials that could be recycled but that have instead been discarded. And of that amount, plastics make up 44%.


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