Executive Order 13329 directs the EPA to properly and effectively assist the private sector in its manufacturing innovation in order to sustain a strong manufacturing sector in the U.S. economy. These innovations often involve engineering and technical solutions that make the manufacturing operation and/or the manufactured product both more environmentally and economically sound.
The EPA is seeking the development and commercialization of innovative technologies that, when compared with currently available technologies, have dramatically better performance, decreased cost of production, and reduced environmental impacts in both production and use.
The production, use, recycle/reuse, and disposal of plastic materials and products still pose significant environmental and human health problems. Toxic fumes that affect workers and neighbors of manufacturing facilities and that off-gas in the home are one type of problem. Another is portrayed by the very graphic pictures of ocean wildlife fatally caught in plastic holders for soda cans. The EPA is seeking innovative plastics that are less hazardous in both their production and use. This means that technologies proposed for this topic must achieve both of these goals in order to be successful, as follows:
- The EPA is seeking more sustainable ways of manufacturing plastics that eliminate the use of toxic chemicals in their production, greatly reduce the amount of energy used, and eliminate toxic pollutants that result from the manufacturing process, and
- the plastics that are manufactured using these improved processes should not emit toxic fumes, should not be toxic if ingested, should rapidly biodegrade in soil and water, and should be easily recycled/reused.
These considerable improvements should result in the following:
- 3A: Non-toxic and biodegradable plastics: Manufacture and use of the next generation of non-toxic and biodegradable plastic materials and products.