February 15, 2022
The US Plastics Pact’s list identifying problematic and unnecessary materials is the result of more than 18 months of expansive discussion, research and debate among the more than 100 companies and organizations that are Pact Activators, some who have also voluntarily signed on to meet the goals of the Global Plastic Commitment outlined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The five criteria used to determine the list are similar to those developed by other US organizations and across the globe.
As the Voice of Plastic Recycling®, and one of the founding Activators and Advisory Council members of the Pact, the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) is particularly pleased that the Pact has endorsed the APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability as the design platform to encourage companies to meet their commitments. The APR Design® Guide provides the most thorough and comprehensive design criteria to help brands understand what is necessary to ensure their packaging and containers can successfully be recycled in the current recycling infrastructure.
“Companies who achieve the ‘APR Preferred’ status, according to the APR Design® Guide, should not have a concern with the items on the list,” commented Steve Alexander, President and CEO of APR. “That is a critical component of this process. Circularity is simply not achievable without design as the first step.”
The industry has long recognized that many items on the list represent challenges to recycling and have been identified as ‘detrimental’ or ‘non-recyclable’ according to the APR Design® Guide. The Pact list has the potential to clean up the stream of material, reduce contamination, and increase yields of recycled material. More importantly, the list will result in enhanced investment in technological solutions which hopefully will lead to some of these materials transitioning off the list.
“A seismic shift in circular package design has been a long time coming. The problematic and unnecessary materials conversation has driven difficult but necessary decisions for all of us,“ continued Mr. Alexander. “APR looks forward to prioritizing solutions for these materials to remove significant barriers for increased recovery and quality of postconsumer materials.”
There is a need for change in the system, and the US Plastics Pact’s List of Problematic and Unnecessary Packaging is a first step by those who have voluntarily signed up for the program.
Learn more in person:
Leaders from the U.S. Plastics Pact will be discussing the problematic-materials list and other trends during a workshop organized by the group on the first day of the 2022 Plastics Recycling Conference (PRC), followed by a workshop organized by APR discussing best practices in design for recycling and the APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability. PRC is being held at the Gaylord National Harbor March 7th- 9th. Register for the Plastics Recycling Conference today!
Learn more now:
Recycled Content Podcast: The Problematic and Unnecessary Materials List with Emily Tipaldo of the US Plastics Pact
Disclaimer: Guest blogs represent the opinion of the writers and may not reflect the policy or position of the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.