How hard is it to reach the halfway point? When it comes to the recycling of plastics packaging in the U.S., 50 percent is very, very, very hard. And yet as Steve Toloken writes, the new U.S. Plastics Pact aims to do just that, and to do it within 20 years.
Just to be clear, right now the recycling rate sits at 14.7 percent, and that includes PET bottles, which have a well-established recycling stream. Despite that, PET only hits 30 percent for a recycling rate.
The backers of the Plastics Pact are some very heavy hitters, from Coca-Cola, Unilever, Clorox, packaging giant Amcor and a range of industry groups, including the Association of Plastic Recyclers and the National Association for PET Container Resources. (But not, notably, the American Chemistry Council or Plastics Industry Association.)
But it's one thing to set targets. The real work will be creating a road map to get to that target, then actually traveling along that road and making it past all of the complications that work involves, potentially including bottle bills and extended producer responsibility requirements.
"This effort will ensure that brand companies will be publicly held to achieve the sustainability commitments they have made," said APR President and CEO Steve Alexander. "There has never been another program like this."