U.S. Pact Baseline Report


“The U.S. Pact’s 2020 Baseline Report illustrates where our journey begins and where we will focus efforts to propel the monumental change required to create a circular economy for plastic packaging. The data clearly show that we have a lot of work to do,” said, Emily Tipaldo, U.S. Pact Executive Director. 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.”

Baseline Report Overview

Delivering on its commitment to transparency and a data-driven approach to advancing circularity, the U.S. Plastics Pact Baseline Report publishes aggregated data from its member organizations (“Activators”) in 2020, the year the organization was founded.

The U.S. Pact’s consumer packaged goods retailer, and converter Activators produce 33% of plastic packaging in scope in the U.S. by weight. More than 100 businesses, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, and research institutions have joined the U.S. Pact and are addressing four targets to address plastic waste at its source by 2025.

Our 2025 Targets:

By joining the U.S. Plastics Pact, Activators agree to deliver against these four action items:


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-Recycling-Container-Icon-50%-Packaging-Recycled-Or-Composted

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

Summary of Progress

The report demonstrates the Pact’s starting point toward achieving these ambitious goals. It covers key actions the Pact and its Activators have taken in its first year, including data and case studies.

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

    • 6 MT of the total weight of plastic packaging placed on the U.S. market was produced by U.S. Pact Activators in 2020.
    • 33%* 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.


The report demonstrates the Pact’s starting point toward achieving these ambitious goals. It covers key actions the Pact and its Activators have taken in its first year, including data and case studies.


Target 1

66% of U.S. Pact business Activators are taking individual action to eliminate certain plastics.


Target 2

37% of plastic packaging placed on the market by U.S. Pact Activators is reusable, recyclable, or compostable.


Target 3

13% is the national U.S. recycling rate for plastic packaging.


Target 4

7% average postconsumer recycled content or responsibly sourced biobased content used by U.S. Pact Activators.

Initial progress demonstrated in the Baseline Report includes:

  • shifts away from non-recyclable plastic packaging and toward packaging that is more easily captured and recycled with higher value;
  • increases in the use of postconsumer recycled content (PCR) in plastic packaging;
  • improved technologies and increased use of technology to make the recycling process more efficient;
  • pilots of innovative and accessible reuse models; and,
  • enhanced communication to help more Americans know how to recycle plastic packaging.


Commitment to Transparency

100% of U.S. Pact Activators who were members during the reporting window submitted data for the baseline report through World Wildlife Fund’s Resource Footprint Tracker. Activators will continue to assess their portfolios and report progress toward the four targets in the coming years, and progress toward elimination will be documented in aggregate as part of the U.S. Pact’s annual reports.

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