On Earth Day, 3M committed to reduce its use of new plastic made from petroleum. By 2025, 3M aims to achieve a new sustainability goal: reduce dependence on virgin fossil-based plastic by 57 million kilograms.
“The materials and infrastructure that support a global transition away from petroleum-based plastics are undergoing rapid transformation and there’s palpable momentum for change,” said Gayle Schueller, 3M senior vice president and chief sustainability officer.
“3M has a history of applying science to create sustainable alternatives to plastic and with this public goal, it will be easier to share these solutions and collaborate with others on advancing a global circular economy”, he added.
To achieve this new goal, 3M is innovating the products and packaging in its Consumer Business Group. Advancements will include use of recycled content and bio-based plastics and designs to decrease overall plastic use. 3M is implementing its transition away from new plastic quickly and aims to achieve the 125-million-pound reduction—more than five times the weight of the Eiffel Tower—by the end of 2025.
“The time is now,” said Jeff Lavers, group president, 3M Consumer. “The pandemic has created significant new ways of doing business that can benefit both the economy and environment. We will change how we bring products to market, to benefit our customers and our consumers.”
3M continues to work with its researchers, engineers, and scientists, as well as suppliers, customers, nongovernmental organizations, and community leaders to improve the circularity of 3M products and materials. 3M requires every new product to have a Sustainability Value Commitment that drives impact for the greater good. Commitments include recyclability, using recycled or renewable materials, opportunities for reuse at the end of a product’s lifespan and more.
Brendan Edgerton, Director of circular economy at World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) said “An essential element of becoming more circular is incorporating more recycled content and sustainable biomass in our products,” said “Without it, we cannot achieve a society in which nine billion people can live well within planetary boundaries. I applaud 3M’s commitment to the circular economy as illustrated in their new goal and we look forward to supporting them in achieving it.”
“Advancing a circular economy means moving away from the costly extraction of limited raw materials, including fossil fuels, to make virgin plastic. There are enormous environmental, social and economic benefits to treating existing plastics as a resource, maximizing their value and keeping them in play,” said Bridget Croke, managing director at Closed Loop Partners. “We’re proud to be a long-time partner of 3M; their commitment to reduce their dependence on virgin plastics sets a precedent for how industry leaders can strengthen the market for recycled plastics and drive circularity forward.”
3M India Managing Director Ramesh Ramadurai and Country Business Head of Consumer business, Siddhesh Borkar issued a joint statement saying “3M India is proud, excited and energized by our organisation’s global commitment to ensuring the health of the planet for future generations. Reducing fossil based plastics is a huge step forward. Each of us have critical roles to play in ensuring environmental sustainability and we encourage everyone to take active part. Find an initiative that matters to you, and make our world a healthy one”