Resource Recycling News

Stakeholders roll out framework for US plastics sustainability

Plastic packaging samples arranged on a table.

In the U.S., dozens of brand owners, retailers, government agencies and nonprofit groups have joined the U.S. Plastics Pact. | Nagy-Bagoly Arpad/Shutterstock

A program called U.S. Plastics Pact, associated with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, will pursue strategies to eliminate unnecessary packaging, increase recyclability, and ensure packaging contains recycled plastic. It has more than 60 industry backers.

Launched today, the collaborative effort is being led by The Recycling Partnership and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment program has in recent years spurred a wide range of recycling goals from major brands and other packaging users. The U.S. Plastics Pact is one arm of a larger global Plastics Pact network that joins “key stakeholders at the national or regional level behind a common vision with a concrete set of ambitious local targets,” according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

In the U.S., dozens of brand owners, retailers, government agencies and nonprofit groups have joined the U.S. Plastics Pact, according to the announcement.

With more than 60 members, the pact has the following 2025 goals: Eliminate problematic or unnecessary packaging; ensure 100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable; undertake actions to recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging; and boost average recycled or bio-based content in plastic packaging to 30%.

“Together, through the U.S. Plastics Pact, we will ignite systems change to accelerate progress toward a circular economy,” Sarah Dearman, vice president of circular ventures for The Recycling Partnership, stated in a press release. “As the lead organization that engages the full supply chain to advance circularity in the U.S., it’s a natural fit for The Recycling Partnership to further collaborative action with other industry leaders to create substantial, long-lasting change for the betterment of our planet.”

Joining in the pact are dozens of organizations (see full list at bottom of press release). Progress toward achieving the four targets will be tracked by WWF’s ReSource: Plastic Footprint Tracker, and the results will be publicly reported each year.

In June, WWF’s platform published a plastic waste report on five large corporations that are members of its ReSource: Plastic project. The report noted Keurig Dr Pepper, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks and The Coca-Cola Company together used 8% post-consumer resin across their consumer-facing plastic packaging. The data was published to provide a baseline to track those companies’ performance in boosting recycled content, increasing recycling rates and eliminating unnecessary packaging.

According to the press release, the U.S. Plastics Pact will receive guidance from an advisory council made up of the following 10 members: Amcor, Balcones Resources, Austin Resource Recycling (part of the city of Austin, Texas), Eureka Recycling, Grove Collaborative, Mars, Target, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever United States and Walmart.

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