U.S. Pact 2021 Annual Report


Emily Tipaldo, U.S. Plastics Pact Executive Director

“The U.S. Pact is bringing forward never-before-seen plastics data and challenging companies operating under difficult market conditions to reduce waste. We must continue to rally Activators around our common language and definitions, gathering novel data to model the future potential, and, finally, supporting and inspiring companies to move toward our circular economy vision. Conceding on 2025 commitments will not foster the support still needed to shake the plastics packaging value chain out of the status quo. We must continue to push the boundaries of collaboration and transparency to build the circular economy for plastics packaging.”

Report Overview

The U.S. Plastics Pact leads with never-before-seen data from its member organizations (“Activators”) with the delivery of the 2021 Annual Report.

The U.S. Pact’s consumer packaged goods, retailer, and converter Activators produce 37% of plastic packaging in scope in the U.S. by weight, placing 5.9M metric tons of plastic packaging on the market. Since its launch in August 2020 the U.S. Pact has doubled membership, interest, and impact with more than 120 businesses, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, and research institutions addressing four targets to address plastic waste at its source by 2025.

Target 1

Target 1

Define a list of plastic packaging that is problematic or unnecessary by 2021 and take measures to eliminate the items on the list by 2025

Target 2

100% of plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025

Target 3

Undertake ambitious actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging by 2025

Target 4

Achieve an average of 30% recycled content or responsibly sourced biobased content in plastic packaging by 2025

Data Highlights

The report shares the U.S. Pact’s aggregate data toward achieving these ambitious goals and covers key actions the U.S. Pact and its Activators have taken in 2021.

The data helps the U.S. Pact have a better understanding of the scale of the challenge and action steps we must take to address the gap.

    • 5.9 million MT of the total weight of plastic packaging placed on the U.S. market was produced by U.S. Pact Activators in 2021.
    • 37% of all plastic packaging in scope in the country by weight was produced by U.S. Pact Activators.*
    • Top 3 plastic packaging formats represented within the U.S. Pact by tonnage were PET bottles, HDPE bottles, and larger multi-material flexible packaging.

* This number represents the total weight of packaging reported by all Activators divided by the estimated weight of all plastic packaging considered to be in scope for the U.S. Plastics Pact put on the market in the U.S. annually, as estimated using EPA and industry data.

Progress Since the Baseline

U.S. Plastics Pact progress since the publication of the Baseline Report includes:

  • creation of the Target 1 Problematic and Unnecessary Materials List with 86% of plastic packaging placed on the market by U.S. Pact Activators by weight not containing items on the list;
  • improved design of recyclable, reusable, refillable, and compostable plastic packaging with recognition of top performers through the Sustainable Packaging Innovation Award;
  • continued increases in the use of postconsumer recycled content (PCR) in plastic packaging with an 8% average PCR or responsibly sourced biobased content used by U.S. Pact Activators;
  • improved technologies and increased use of technology to make the recycling process more efficient; and
  • support of innovative and reusable product delivery models including the launch of the U.S. Pact Reuse Catalyst with 20 Partners selected for the inaugural cohort.
Target 1

Target 1

86% of the plastic packaging put on the market by U.S. Pact Activators by weight did not contain items on the U.S. Pact's Problematic and Unnecessary Materials list.


Target 2

36% of plastic packaging placed on the market by U.S. Pact Activators is reusable, recyclable, or compostable; and an additional 2% complies with U.S. Pact Design for Recyclability Guidelines but is not yet recycled in practice and at scale.


Target 3

13.3% is the national U.S. recycling rate for plastic packaging.


Target 4

8% average postconsumer recycled content or responsibly sourced biobased content used by U.S. Pact Activators.

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