3M innovates to decrease plastic use, with recycled content and bio-based plastics

On Earth Day, 3M is committing to reducing its usage of different plastic produced from petroleum. By 2025, 3M aims to gain a new sustainability goal: reduce dependency on virgin fossil-based plastic by 125 million pounds.

“The materials and infrastructure that maintain a global transition away from petroleum-based plastics are experiencing accelerated transformation, and there palpable momentum for reform,” said Gayle Schueller, 3M senior vice president and chief sustainability officers. “3M has a past of applying science to create sustainable alternatives to plastic, and with this public goal, it will be more comfortable to share these solutions and cooperate with others on advancing a global circular economics.”

3M is innovating the commodities and packaging in its Consumer Business Group to achieve this new goal. Advancements will involve the use of recycled content and bio-based plastics and plans to reduce overall plastic use. 

Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Non-Scratch Scrubbers which are constructed with 75% post-consumer recycled plastic and encased in recyclable packaging made from 100% recycled content, submit a prime example of the developments 3M is making. 

3M is performing its transformation away from new plastic immediately and aims to achieve the 125-million-pound reduction of more than five times the weight of the Eiffel Tower by the end of 2025.

“The time is now,” said Jeff Lavers, organization president, 3M Consumer. “The pandemic has generated significant new ways of doing business that can serve both the economy and environment. We will exchange how we bring products to market to benefit our consumers and our customers.” 

Plastic pollution is a significant global challenge, and the creation of fossil-based plastics negatively impacts the global climate by releasing greenhouse gas emanations. A current study from the Center on International Environmental Law found that by 2050, explosions from the plastic industry will be similar to 615 coal plants totaling more than 2.75 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). 

By reducing the use of this material, 3M can help address these challenges, ultimately aligning with its current efforts to minimize waste and recent goal to achieve carbon neutrality in its services by 2050.

3M proceeds to work with its researchers, engineers, scientists, suppliers, customers, nongovernmental organizations, and community leaders to develop the circularity of 3M products and materials. 3M needs every new product to have a Sustainability Value 

Engagement that drives impact for the greater good. Responsibilities include recyclability, using recycled or renewable materials, opportunities for reuse at the end of a product’s lifespan, and more exceeding.

“An essential component of becoming more circular is combining further recycled content and sustainable biomass in our products,” said Brendan Edgerton, director of circular economy at World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). 

“Without it, we cannot stand a society in which nine billion people can live well within planetary bounds. I praise 3M’s commitment to the circular economy as illustrated in their new goal, and we look forward to helping them in achieving it.”

3M has been a portion of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to improve circular economy since 2019 and is cooperating with fellow members to drive a more significant global impact. The company has maintained The Recycling Partnership for higher than four years. 

In 2020, it presented the initial investment for the Recycling Inclusion Fund to advance the recycling foundation and learning and research into the challenges that hinder a more equitable recycling system. 3M was a founder for Closed Loop Partners in 2014 and joined fellow founding investors to reinvest more than $54 million in 2020. 

3M also has co-funded projects like the U.S. and Canada Recycling Infrastructure and Plastic Waste Map, a first-of-its-kind public tool highlighting and following the variety of plastic waste as chances to retake valuable plastics and re-incorporate them into the producing supply chain.

“In a resource-constrained world, developing a circular economy means running away from the costly removal of defective raw materials, including fossil fuels, to make virgin plastic. There are tremendous environmental, social, and economic benefits to current operating plastics as a source, maximizing their utility and keeping them in play,” said Bridget Croke, enduring director at Closed Loop Partners. 

“We are satisfied to be a long-time partner of 3M. Their responsibility to defeating their dependence on virgin plastics sets a standard for how industry administrators can extend the market for recycled plastics and encourage circularity foremost.”

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3 thoughts on “3M innovates to decrease plastic use, with recycled content and bio-based plastics

  • Pingback: Top 21 New Sustainable Packaging Innovations so far in 2021

  • April 14, 2023 at 2:20 am

    One solution that I would like to highlight is the use of recycled plastics. Companies like Raw tech trade are doing their part by providing a marketplace for buying and selling recycled plastic materials. By supporting this marketplace, we can help promote the use of recycled plastics and reduce our reliance on virgin plastics.

    • May 10, 2023 at 5:51 pm

      Great to hear you on the recycled content usage.


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