Waste Not
US Plastics Pact Unveils Plan to Achieve Circular Economy in US by 2025

Holding accountable over 95 organizations, The US Plastics Pact Roadmap outlines specific actions and responsibilities to propel the US closer to other developed nations in its management of plastic waste.

Today, the US Plastics Pact — a consortium launched in August by The Recycling Partnership and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact Network — unveiled an aggressive national strategy to ensure all plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Roadmap to 2025 is supported by nearly 100 corporations, startups, research entities, NGOs, universities, and state and local governments across the plastics packaging value chain; and includes mandatory reporting and specific timeframes for realizing meaningful and targeted outcomes for a truly circular plastics economy.

“The current state of US infrastructure, coupled with the lack of incentives to utilize recycled content in plastic packaging, have put immense strain on the value chain,” said Emily Tipaldo, Executive Director of The US Plastics Pact. “The Roadmap is designed to help US industry leaders act on the significant, systemwide change needed to realize a circular economy for plastics by 2025. The time frame is short, and the workload is immense — but if we choose to do nothing, the visions of a circular economy across the US will give way to the status quo. We look forward to working with all our members to drive this critical change.”

With 2025 fast approaching, the Roadmap follows ambitious precedents set by other Pacts in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact Network, with hopes of bringing one unifying voice to plastic packaging guidelines, policy, education, labeling, access, and infrastructure.

Unlike any other existing US initiative, the US Pact provides overarching leadership and accountability by aligning to develop a national strategy, advance shared goals, and measure the strength of progress through annual reporting.

The US Pact — whose founding signatories (known as Activators) include over 60 of the world’s largest CPG companies and retailers — including The Clorox Company, Closed Loop Partners, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Danone North America, Eastman, Henkel Corporation, Kimberly-Clark, L'Oréal USA, Mars, Inc; Molson Coors, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network (fka Soul Buffalo), Target, TerraCycle, Unilever US and Walmart — developed the Roadmap to ensure systemic change and accelerate progress toward four specific targets that address plastic waste at its source:

1. Define a list of packaging to be designated as problematic or unnecessary by 2021, and take measures to eliminate them by 2025.

2. 100 percent of plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

3. By 2025, undertake ambitious actions to effectively recycle or compost 50 percent of plastic packaging.

4. By 2025, the average recycled content or responsibly sourced biobased content in plastic packaging will be 30 percent.

Through the Roadmap, the US Pact and its Activators say they will tackle each of these 2025 targets by inspiring and supporting upstream innovation through an ecosystem of coordinated stakeholder initiatives. By rethinking products, packaging, and business models, Activators will accelerate the transition away from today’s take-make-waste model to a circular economy where plastics never become waste.

"To meaningfully address the plastic waste crisis in the United States, we must unite the critical stakeholders — industry leaders, waste management systems, and policymakers — under a cohesive action plan," said Erin Simon, Head of Plastic Waste and Business at WWF. "The Roadmap will be the key for setting a national strategy that reaches our set targets and measures our progress in a consistent, transparent manner.”

The Roadmap is driven by US Pact Activators that utilize working groups to leverage experience from existing programs, optimize investments, identify gaps, and aid in pooling funding for areas in need. The Roadmap reflects national priorities and realities while propelling the US closer to other developed nations in its management of plastic waste.

“As a founding member of The US Plastics Pact, we are proud to lead this new Roadmap rollout that aligns with Henkel’s mission to develop solutions that minimize and manage plastic waste. Through our new ambitious packaging targets, we are making great strides to reduce our use of virgin plastic and to integrate materials from sustainable sources into packaging designs for our laundry and beauty products,” said Jillaine Dellis, Head of Sustainability for Henkel North America’s Consumer Products business. “We are fully committed to reaching these targets by 2025 to ensure we’re one step closer to achieving a circular economy in the US.”

The Roadmap aims to provide a significant step forward in realizing a circular economy for plastics and create a pathway through which companies, governments and NGOs can successfully ensure that plastics remain in the economy and out of the environment for years to come.

For more on the US Pact’s full roadmap, please visit usplasticspact.org/roadmap.

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