Plastics Pact report indicates US falling short of 2025 recycled packaging targets / Need to speed up implementation
The US plastics industry has work to do to meet 2025 targets: making packaging 100% reusable, recyclable and compostable; effectively recycling or composting 50% of all plastics packaging; creating packaging with an average of 30% recycled content from responsibly sourced or biobased content, as laid out in the 2021 annual report from the US Plastics Pact, a consortium founded in 2020 by The Recycling Partnership (Falls Church, Virginia;, which is the North American platform of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s (EMF, Cowes, UK; global Plastics Pact network.

According to the 2021 report:
  • 36% of plastics packaging placed on the market was reusable, recyclable, or compostable (goal: reaching 100% by 2025).
  • The US recycling rate for plastics packaging was 13.3% (goal: 50% by 2025).
  • An average of 8% of plastics packaging on the market contained recycled content from responsibly sourced or biobased sources (goal: 30% by 2025).
Related: US environmental group reports drop in domestic plastics recycling

Emily Tipaldo, executive director at US Plastics Pact, said economics remain the main challenge to meeting 2025 targets (Photo: US Plastics Pact)
Emily Tipaldo, executive director at US Plastics Pact, cited the residual pressures on domestic manufacturing, the nascent stage of recycling and composting infrastructures in the US, and cascading fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic as factors that affected product demand, labour, material and equipment availability, logistics, and consumer markets.

However, Tipaldo says progress has been made since the baseline of 2020 – in January 2022, the pact also called for end of PS, EPS, and PVC packaging by 2025 – noting among others a rise in the use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content in plastics packaging, improved plastics packaging design, and the continued incorporation of technologies to make the recycling process more efficient.

After analysing the data in the report, the US Plastics Pact has identified five areas where it will focus through 2025:
  • Developing a target for reducing virgin plastics packaging.
  • Taking measures to eliminate problematic and unnecessary materials used in packaging.
  • Supporting the development and implementation of reuse systems.
  • Ensuring 100% of PET and HDPE bottles meet Design for Recyclability requirements and increasing the usage of post-consumer recycled resin across all rigid packaging.
  • Supporting policies for extended producer responsibility (EPR) programmes, PCR mandates, and deposit return systems.
Four US states passed EPR laws last year, and the EPR legislation had been introduced in Europe in September 2022.

Related: LYB, Braskem respond to report on top producers of resins for single use

As the use of PCR in plastics packaging is a crucial pathway to creating a circular economy for plastics, the US Plastics Pact launched its Postconsumer Recycled Content (PCR) Toolkit, a resource designed to educate the American packaging industry on PCR and assist plastics packaging manufacturers in incorporating recyclate material into their products. The online tool includes information on current PCR legislation and federal requirements, procurement types, quality considerations, and consumer perceptions, among other things.
15.03.2023 [252291-0]
Published on 15.03.2023
US Plastics Pact: Mitglieder weit von Zielvorgaben entferntGerman version of this article...

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