Plastic pellets for industrial manufacturing use held in cupped hands.


Increasing circularity in our plastic use

  • Plastic pollution is a pressing global challenge, and the production of plastics negatively impacts the global climate through the release of greenhouse gas emissions. Compounding the issue is the management of plastic waste.

    3M uses plastics and has a responsibility to address this challenge. To help support the circular economy, we innovate new product and packaging solutions that use less plastic or are reusable, renewable, recyclable, or made with more recycled material. This includes using less virgin fossil-based plastic and more recycled or bio-based plastics where appropriate.

Progress toward our plastics goal

  • Icon of a recyclable plastic water bottle.
    43.71 million pounds toward our goal to:

    Reduce dependence on virgin fossil-based plastic by 125 million pounds by the end of 20252

  1. During an internal audit, a conversion factor error was identified. Total virgin fossil-based plastic results decreased by 19%, which means 3M used more than reported in the 2023 Global Impact Report published in March 2023. This value will be third-party assured for the upcoming 2024 Global Impact Report on 2023 progress. For this reason, values in the 2023 Global Impact Report will not be consistent with this webpage. In next year’s publication of the Global Impact Report, we’ll provide additional details regarding the conversion error in the report’s About report section.
  2. Established in 2021.

Key impacts in 2022

  • Recycled and bio-based materials

    We've incorporated recycled and bio-based materials and reduced plastic use in products and packaging such as tapes and dispensers, sponges, workspace solutions, insulation, optical films, mailing supplies, floor pads, sorbents, and more.

  • Packaging

    We changed the packaging for several of our Scotch tapes in Europe from a plastic blister to a 100% paperboard package. This resulted in the removal of over 30.7 metric tons of plastic from the market — and packaging that’s even easier to recycle.

  • Plastics recycling

    As Ocean Stewards for Plastic Bank, 3M, through our partner Global Giving, provided a $100,000 grant to an ethical collection community in Brazil, helping to stop 181,818 kg of plastic — the equivalent of 9 million 500 ml plastic bottles — from entering the ocean. Collected material is reused in products and packaging.

  • Polypropylene study

    3M is partnering with Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy and relevant stakeholders to conduct a 20-month study of food-grade polypropylene, which will help in evaluating the feasibility of new end markets.