The US Plastics Pact and the drive towards a circular economy

With interest growing in the implementation of Circular Economy programmes, Emma Trevor, Valpak’s International Account Manager, discusses how the US Plastics Pact aims to prevent plastics continuing to be a problematic waste.

Launched at Circularity20, an online event aiming to accelerate global progress towards a circular economy, the US Plastics Pact is looking like a promising step in the right direction.

As part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network and with support from the WWF, The US Plastics Pact is led by The Recycling Partnership and aims to tackle the issue of plastics pollution at the source. Simply put, and as with all countries in the network, the purpose of the US Plastics Pact is to prevent plastics from ever becoming waste and, ultimately, for the use of plastics to become fully disconnected from the use of finite resources.

With a vision of facilitating the change required for a circular economy for plastics to be brought to fruition, the Pact enables both companies and government entities to work collaboratively towards a common goal, which would otherwise remain unachievable. One example of such alliance is the partnership between Chilean brand Algramo and two companies endorsing the US Plastics Pact – Colgate-Palmolive and The Clorox Company, which is set to expand the US distribution of reusable household cleaning and personal care products.

This is an exciting step on the journey towards a circular economy for plastic in the United States, one that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the environment. This effort will not only help to create solutions in the US, but across the world, as part of our global network of Plastics Pacts.

Sander Defruyt, New Plastics Economy Lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Targets for 2025

Whilst the predominant goal of the US Pact is clearly to advance towards a circular economy for plastics, there are some specific targets which have been set for this vision to become common practice. These objectives are as follows:

  • By 2025, a definitive list detailing which plastic packaging qualifies as problematic or superfluous will be created and measures to eliminate them will be put in place
  • By 2025, all plastic packaging will be either reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • By 2025, the average proportion of recycled or responsibly sourced bio-content will reach at least thirty percent
  • By 2025, a minimum of fifty percent of plastic packaging will be effectively recycled or composted

For these goals to become attainable, the way in which plastics are designed, used and reused will also have to be reconsidered.

Progress on these targets is to be reported annually and will be publicly available through the WWF’s ReSource – Plastic Footprint Tracker.

With signatories such as Unilever US, The Coca-Cola Company and Walmart, it’s clear to see that companies are keen to show their support for and participation in the next steps towards a greener economy. Being spearheaded by such pioneering corporations in a country as influential as the US, the US Plastics Pact is sure to act as a catalyst for change, driving advancements in the way we design and use our plastics all over the globe.

How Valpak can help

If your business is affected by environmental legislation overseas, we will remove the administrative and resource intensive burden of complying and have a range of services that can be tailored to suit your business’s needs.

To find out more about international environmental legislation and how we can help please call us on 03450 682 572 or complete our online enquiry form.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.