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Plant-Based Products Could Be Answer to Plastic Packaging Waste

The Plant Based Products Council (PBPC) has joined the U.S. Plastics Pact, a collaborative, solutions-driven initiative intended to drive significant systems change to rethink the way businesses and people design, use and reuse plastics.

Led by The Recycling Partnership and World Wildlife Fund, in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the U.S. Plastics Pact aims to unify diverse cross-sector approaches, set a national strategy and create scalable solutions to forge a path toward a circular economy for plastics in the United States by 2025.

As part of the U.S. Pact, activators like PBPC recognize that significant, systemwide change is imperative to realize a circular economy for plastics. Working toward that purpose, the U.S. Pact will convene more than 70 brands, retailers, NGOs and government agencies across the plastics value chain to bring one voice to U.S. packaging through coordinated initiatives and innovative solutions for rethinking products, packaging and business models.

“Plant-based packaging materials offer a wide range of opportunities for addressing the environmental challenges we face today,” Jessica Bowman, PBPC executive director, said. “The PBPC is proud to join fellow collaborators of the U.S. Plastics Pact in working with stakeholders across the plant-based value chain to guide the global economy to a more sustainable future through the application of circular economy principles.”

As a founding activator of the U.S. Plastics Pact, PBPC has agreed to collectively deliver against these four ambitious goals. These are to define a list of packaging to be designated as problematic or unnecessary by 2021 and take measures to eliminate them by 2025. It also plans to make all plastic packaging 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable, undertake ambitious actions to effectively recycle or compost 50 percent of plastic packaging, and ensure the average recycled content or responsibly sourced bio-based content in plastic packaging totals 30 percent, all by 2025.

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While the U.S. Pact is complementary to and follows the ambitious precedents set by the existing global network of Plastic Pacts, it will be tailored to meet the special needs and challenges of the U.S. market.

“Together through the U.S. Plastics Pact, we will ignite system change to accelerate progress toward a circular economy,” Sarah Dearman, vice president of circular ventures for The Recycling Partnership, said. “The U.S. Pact will accelerate systemwide change by inspiring and supporting upstream innovation through a coordinated national strategy, creating a unified framework and enabling members to accelerate progress toward our ambitious 2025 sustainability goals. Members’ full participation will be vital to reaching our shared goals.”

The U.S. Pact emphasizes measurable change and as such, PBPC is committed to transparent, annual reporting, guided by WWF’s ReSource: Plastic Footprint Tracker that will be used to document annual progress against its four goals. The first task of the founding members of the U.S. Plastics Pact will be to establish a “roadmap” in the first quarter of 2021 to identify key milestones and national solutions to achieving the U.S. targets and realize a circular economy in which plastic never becomes waste.