By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.
On December 7, 2021, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a study titled: “A Chemicals Perspective on Designing with Sustainable Plastics: Goals, Considerations and Trade-offs.” The study builds on considerations from a similar OECD report from 2018 by analyzing four sector-specific case studies on insulation, flooring, biscuit wrappers, and detergent bottles. To produce this study, OECD conducted literature reviews, interviews, and workshops with chemists and suppliers, examining the chemicals perspective on the material selection process informing designers and engineering in finding sustainable plastics for their products. OECD concludes the study by identifying limitations and recommending the following next steps:
- Identify and address knowledge gaps within scientific insights on chemicals;
- Continue to promote chemical innovation for improved outcomes for products and their operating environment;
- Integrate sustainability design goals earlier in the design process;
- Broaden the scope to include other materials families; and
- Involve more stakeholders.
The full study and a webinar hosted by OECD on December 7, 2021, are available here.