U.S. Plastics Pact unveils Roadmap 2.0 with bold goals to eliminate plastic packaging waste

U.S. Plastics Pact launches Roadmap transforming packaging and supply chains across industries. New Plan outlines ambitious targets toward a circular economy

The U.S. Plastics Pact released its latest strategic plan to help companies change how they design, use, and reuse plastics in their packaging. Roadmap 2.0 is an actionable plan designed to transform the use of plastics, focusing on practical steps to create a circular economy where plastic packaging is reused, recycled, composted, and kept within the economy instead of becoming waste.

This comprehensive plan builds on the successes and lessons learned from the initial Roadmap to 2025, setting forth updated and ambitious targets to address plastic waste and drive systemic change across the entire plastics value chain.

According to the U.S. Plastics Pact, the Roadmap 2.0 begins on January 1, 2026. By releasing it 18 months in advance, we provide our Activators ample time to prepare for these new challenges and objectives. This roadmap will continue fostering a culture of trust, transparency, and collaboration, ensuring our efforts are aligned and impactful. By prioritizing sustainable design and reuse and reducing plastic waste, companies can significantly contribute to a circular economy.

Significant progress achieved in plastic waste reduction

The original Roadmap to 2025 was a bold initiative to catalyze immediate action in the absence of a federal strategy. Over the past four years, the U.S. Plastics Pact has seen significant progress in plastics circularity:

  • Reduction of Problematic Materials: Through the creation of a Problematic & Unnecessary Materials List, decreased the use of problematic or unnecessary plastics from 14% to 8%
  • Increased Recyclability: Increased the amount of reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging from37% to 47.7%.
  • Recycled Content: Increasing post-consumer recycled or responsibly sourced biobased content in packaging from 7% to 9.4%.
  • Community Growth: Expanding the U.S. Pact from 62 to over 130 dedicated Activators.
  • Resource Development: Introduction of the PCR Procurement Toolkit, PCR Certification Principles, and the Design for Circularity Playbooks, to be published summer 2024.

Roadmap 2.0 sets ambitious new goals

Building on these advancements, the ever-changing landscape requires companies to continue pushing boundaries. Roadmap 2.0 is designed to carry forward the unfinished targets from the original plan and introduce new objectives based on the experiences of U.S. Plastic Pact Activators:

  • Reuse Innovations: Reuse is now a primary target. By making reuse a core target, we can significantly reduce single-use plastics. Practical examples include returnable cup systems at events, which help reduce waste.
  • Design for Circularity: all plastic packaging will be designed and manufactured to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
  • Elimination of Problematic Plastics: By 2030, all items on the expanded Problematic & Unnecessary Materials List will be eliminated, and virgin plastic will be reduced by 30%. This approach ensures that only essential plastics are produced and used in ways that support sustainability.
  • Effective Recycling: The plan aims to recycle 50% of plastic packaging and establish the necessary infrastructure to achieve this at scale. In comparison, plastic packaging will achieve an average of 30% post-consumer recycled or responsibly sourced biobased content.
  • Health and Community Impact: The plan also addresses the social impacts and disparities related to plastic production and use.

Emily Tipaldo, Executive Director of the U.S. Plastics Pact, stated:

“The current reliance on virgin plastics is unsustainable. Roadmap 2.0 aims to make a tangible difference by changing how we design, use, and reuse plastics. The focus is on practical, achievable steps companies can take to contribute to a circular economy.”

“Roadmap 2.0 is not just a continuation; it’s an evolution. Our initial targets were intentionally ambitious to spark rapid change. With Roadmap 2.0, we’re taking what we have learned and succeeded to the next level, focusing on innovative solutions and addressing broader impacts. We are committed to working collaboratively with our Activators and stakeholders to make these targets a reality.”

Moving forward through collaboration and Innovation

The U.S. Plastics Pact continues to work as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact Network and other global initiatives to harmonize efforts and share best practices. Roadmap 2.0 emphasizes the importance of action cross-sector collaboration and innovation, to achieve these ambitious goals.