Midland, Mich.-based Dow, one of the world's largest suppliers of polyethylene and many specialty resins, announced aggressive new commitments on June 17 to address plastic waste and climate change.
Dow aims to collect, reuse or recycle 1 million tonnes of plastics by 2030, officials said in the release. The firm also plans to have all of its products sold into packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2035 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.
"Today's announcement is the next step in our sustainability journey that began more than 30 years ago," Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling said in the release. "Climate change and plastic waste are among the greatest technical, social and economic issues the world has ever faced, and our products and technology are critical to addressing both."
He added that at Dow, "we have a responsibility and an opportunity to lead in addressing these global challenges."
"A sustainable future is attainable, but only if we continue to tackle these issues head-on, hold ourselves accountable and work together to enable new science- and technology-based solutions that directly address both climate change and plastic waste," Fitterling said.
Dow also released its 2019 Sustainability Report and new sustainability targets, which officials said align to, and build upon, its 2025 Sustainability Goals. To reach its goal of 1 million tonnes, officials said that the firm is investing and collaborating in technologies and infrastructure to increase global recycling. To meet the packaging goal, Dow is committed to redesigning and offering reusable or recyclable solutions for packaging applications.
The firm also has entered into renewable power agreements for its manufacturing plants in Kentucky, Texas, Argentina and Brazil. Dow also on June 17 said that it is developing a new line of post-consumer resins. The new materials will be designed "to harness the resources of used flexible and rigid plastic packaging to create new packaging materials while keeping waste out of the environment."
The new post-consumer resins already are available in Asia and Europe. Officials said the new materials provide brands and consumers with performance comparable to packaging made with virgin resins while reducing carbon and energy footprints of by 20-30 percent depending on the application. When used in shrink film to hold bottles, cans and cartons, officials said Dow's new post-consumer resins will help ensure products are delivered safely while also reducing the amount of plastic waste ending up in the environment.
"Dow's new recycled plastic resin represents another advancement in our commitment to work with our customers to stop plastic waste from entering the environment and to drive circular economy solutions," Packaging & Specialty Plastics President Diego Donoso said.
Dow's overall plastic waste goals are designed to ensure that its investments and collaboration, including its work with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Circulate Capital, have clear targets to stop waste from getting into the environment and to lead the materials science industry toward a circular economy, officials said.
"Reducing the impact of climate change and eliminating plastic waste are societal challenges that are closely linked," Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Mary Draves said in the release.
"As a producer of technologies that are essential to a low-carbon economy, we are developing and investing in new production processes that are low-emission and optimally efficient."
Dow employs 36,500 worldwide and posted sales of around $43 billion in 2019.