President Joe Biden's administration is setting a goal of replacing 90 percent of fossil-fuel based plastics with bio-based alternatives over the next two decades.
In a report released March 22, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) outlined what it called bold goals for helping the U.S. to be a leader in bioeconomy technology, produce low carbon-intensity chemicals to fight climate change and shore up domestic supply chains.
"In 20 years, [the U.S. should] demonstrate and deploy cost-effective and sustainable routes to convert bio-based feedstocks into recyclable-by-design polymers that can displace more than 90 percent of today's plastics and other commercial polymers at scale," the report said.
According to the report, plastics are a target because they are major greenhouse gas emitters — the size of the global aviation industry today — and are projected to grow rapidly, accounting for more than 20 percent of annual global fossil fuel consumption by 2050.
"Accordingly, an urgent global need exists to rapidly enable a more circular economy for today's fossil carbon-based polymers production and to source chemical building blocks for tomorrow's recyclable-by-design plastics from bio-based and waste sources," the report said. "Additionally, waste plastics accumulating in landfills and the broader environment is well recognized as a planetary-scale pollution crisis."