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The Reuse Catalyst Makes Reusable Plastic Program Research Collaborative

Read the complete Waste Dive article

Taking the leap to switch from traditional plastics to reusable ones is a feat that comes with many challenges.

Knowing how to design these products, who to purchase products from, how to scale up their tests to full production, etc. are all things that will come up when making the transition. The U.S. Plastics Pact’s Reuse Catalyst program is hoping to shift assist packaging manufacturers and companies with their circular goals.

Overcoming these hurdles alone is something that takes a lot of work, and while it can’t solve everything, collaboration can help smooth out the process.

The Reuse Catalyst program is aimed at creating a network for collaboration amongst companies going the extra mile to prevent plastic waste. “It really aims to bolster the development of both emerging and more established reuse innovators in the United States specifically,” says Emily Tipaldo, Executive Director of the U.S. Plastics Pact. “Reuse is in our target. We have four aggressive targets that we’re working toward as the U.S. Plastics Pact by 2025, and reuse is a big part of those.”

With an ambitious goal of making sure 100 percent of their plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025, the collaborative is launching the Reuse Catalyst as a way to advance this forward. “A big piece of what we’re doing in general as the pact is trying to design and facilitate a more circular economy for plastic packaging,” Tipaldo adds.

All with the common goal of minimizing their plastic production and consumption by piloting reusable plastics, these companies are given the opportunity to join a network and will receive advantages that will support efforts to scale up their reusable plastics tests to full scale. Things like shared resources, information, visibility, and mentorship will come with joining the program.

There is a specific affirmation by the U.S. Plastics Pact that those involved will see increased brand recognition with the formal “U.S. Plastics Pact Reuse Catalyst Partners” title as well as gain access to the U.S. Pact network of retailers, investors, and experts, among others, for a variety of different potential partnership opportunities.

The Reuse Catalyst opens a lot of doors for companies and organizations who are currently deploying a reusable packaging program or are about to, however, the bargain is not one-sided.

“Those participating will be provided with some surveys where we ask them to share some information both from their perspective as a company, as well as some surveying of their customers,” says Tipaldo.

With these surveys, The Pact will have a better pool of information to understand the four pillars of their research in creating a circular economy of plastics in the United States.

The Pact identifies four key metric areas necessary to establishing circularity in the plastic industry; environment, social, economic and scalability. With results from these surveys, the organization will be better able to populate its data on the successes and failures of reusable plastic packaging and how these four metrics impacted, or were impacted by, the outcome. “Logistics are really the bread and butter of reuse” asserts Tipaldo.

This research then gets used to inform tests for Reuse Catalyst Partners and will aid each of them in the process of rolling out their reusable plastic pilots. With a larger pool of data, they will be better able to advise scaling up their tests to full production.

A specific metric area that this system will help to explore and understand more is social due to the research put into consumers and their expectations.

“Posted with permission from Waste Dive.”

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