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Analysis of processes and assessment of impacts of circularity initiatives: a study of the Brazilian plastic industry in the light of value retention stages

Abstract

Plastic is a transversal material present in more than 95% of the industrial matrix and is considered an innovation inducer. However, it generates several environmental impacts along its production and consumption chain. There is a worldwide effort to promote a circular economy for plastics. Circularity is the ability to use plastic more efficiently, keeping it in use for as long as possible, getting as much of it as possible during its use, and then recovering it to make new products. This gives a product a circular life, reducing the likelihood of it becoming waste and thus mitigating its socio-environmental impacts. Corporate social responsibility must not only be limited to regulations and laws regarding working conditions and environmental protection but it must also be related to environmental and social practices. One of the ways to mitigate the incorrect disposal of plastic waste is the application of the 9Rs, which are: rethink (redesign), reduce, reuse, remanufacture, reform, repair, recovery, recycling, and recirculation (repropose). The objective of this proposal goes in this direction by applying a framework for evaluating the circularity of plastic through the analysis of focal companies in the chain and their 9Rs initiatives. In this sense, the work seeks to contribute to the debate by presenting lessons that can be learned from these experiences. Based on these lessons, managerial implications and public sustainability policies will be proposed, considering not only the economic and environmental pillar but above all the social pillar, which is still little explored. For this, the project is structured in two complementary analysis axes. First, a literature review will be carried out, given the existence of several studies that sought to assess the circularity of this material. The second axis is linked to the empirical evaluation of the companies' experiences. (AU)

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