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Data and Harmonization to Improve the Circularity of Plastics

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Significant activity is taking place at the local, state, national, and international levels aimed at improving the management of plastic products and packaging. Recent efforts include recycled content targets set by many brands/manufacturers, the passing of extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies in multiple states, the EPA’s National Recycling Strategy, and international discussions in the development of a UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution. However, the effectiveness of these efforts – and to ensure they collectively address the challenge – requires improvements in data availability and harmonization along with measurements, benchmarking and the underpinnings of decision tools that can serve the full value chain. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology in collaboration with EPA, USDA, NOAA, DoE, and others are convening stakeholders from across the polymers/plastics value chain to identify data gaps, understand strengths and weaknesses of existing reporting structures, share insights on evaluative methods (e.g. environmental benchmarking, life cycle assessment), and develop a roadmap for infrastructure to support data-driven solutions.

Workshop Goals/Objectives:

  • Identify data gaps and opportunities for enhanced measurements and evaluation methods
  • Ascertain strengths and weaknesses of existing data collection systems and infrastructure
  • Develop a data science roadmap to enable progress in eliminating plastic pollution and increased plastic circularity
  • Clarify agency roles in data collection, validation, harmonization, access, and community interoperability.


Draft Agenda - View/Download (PDF)

Created November 2, 2022, Updated November 16, 2022