A new report says the companies in the U.S. Plastics Pact have work ahead of them to meet their 2025 goals, with their plans for recycled content and greener plastics packaging only about one-third of where they need to be.
A March 7 progress report from the pact says the companies had about 7 percent post-consumer or bio-based content in their plastics packaging in 2020, compared with a 2025 target of 25 percent.
As well, the group said that only 37 percent of the plastic packaging put on the market by the companies was recyclable, reusable or compostable in that year, vs. a target of 100 percent by 2025.
"The data clearly show that we have a lot of work to do," said Executive Director Emily Tipaldo. "At the same time, we are encouraged by the pact's support for policy measures that will enable reuse, recycling and composting infrastructure across the U.S.
"The needs to bolster composting and the implementation of affordable reusable packaging are many, on top of necessary support for recycling," she said.
Pact member companies, including Coca-Cola Co., Unilever plc and Walmart Inc., say they collectively produce about one-third of the plastics packaging in the U.S.
The report also said that the recycling rate for plastics packaging in the U.S. was 13.3 percent in 2020, against a 2025 pact target of 50 percent.
It said legislation for extended producer responsibility, container deposit return systems and recycled content mandates will be key to increasing recycling rates.
The pact, which launched in 2020, released the report as baseline data for its efforts. The companies submitted their data through the World Wildlife Fund's ReSource Footprint Tracker.
The report includes a breakout of recycling rates for more than 25 different types of plastics packaging, with the highest rate of 34.2 percent for colored high density polyethylene bottles but many categories at 0 percent.