The U.S. Plastics Pact (U.S. Pact), a consortium formed in August 2020 and led by The Recycling Partnership and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact Network, released an aggressive national strategy to ensure all plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025. Titled “Roadmap to 2025,” the strategy is supported by nearly 100 corporations, start-ups, research entities, nongovernmental organizations, universities, and state and local governments across the plastics packaging value chain. It includes mandatory reporting and specific timeframes in order to realize meaningful and targeted outcomes for a circular economy for plastics. “The current state of U.S. infrastructure, coupled with the lack of incentives to utilize recycled content in plastic packaging, have put immense strain on the value chain,” explains Emily Tipaldo, Executive Director, The U.S. Plastics Pact. “The Roadmap is designed to help U.S. industry leaders act on the significant, systemwide change needed to realize a circular economy for plastics by 2025.”
The Roadmap includes four specific targets that address plastic waste at its source:
- Define a list of packaging to be designated as problematic or unnecessary by 2021 and take measures to eliminate them by 2025.
- 100% of plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.
- By 2025, undertake ambitious actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging.
- By 2025, the average recycled content or responsibly sourced bio-based content in plastic packaging will be 30%.
In issuing the Roadmap, the U.S. Pact and its signatories, known as Activators, will approach each of these 2025 targets by inspiring and supporting upstream innovation through an ecosystem of coordinated stakeholder initiatives focused on rethinking products, packaging, and business models. The success of the U.S. Pact “rests primarily on two elements: the extent to which brands, retailers, and packaging producers maximize actions within their control, and the extent to which the value chain can work collectively to overcome systemic barriers and to implement supporting policies,” states the Roadmap. With regards to compostable packaging, the Pact will establish “a clear position and guidance …. helping to reduce confusion in the sector and building on or adopting other industry guidelines where possible.”