Circular Economy


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ASHEVILLE, NC: The U.S. Plastics Pact, part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact Network, has identified 11 plastic items to be eliminated by 2025 because they are not reusable, recyclable, or compostable.

The list, applying exclusively to plastic packaging, includes:
• Cutlery, stirrers and straws as an ancillary item
• Intentionally added Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
• Non-detectable pigments such as Carbon Black
• Opaque or pigmented PET - Polyethylene Terephthalate bottles (any color other than transparent blue or green)
• Oxo-degradable additives, including oxo-biodegradable additives
• PETG – Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol in rigid packaging
• Problematic Label Constructions - This includes adhesives, inks, materials (e.g., PETG, PVC, PLA, paper).
• PS – Polystyrene, including EPS (Expanded Polystyrene)
• PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride, including PVDC (Polyvinylidene Chloride)

The list was developed by over 100 corporations, civil society and government organizations as a commitment to “define a list of packaging that is problematic or unnecessary by 2021”. These so-called ‘Activators’ will develop guidance on circular alternatives to eliminate the items on the list by 2025.

“We thank our Activators for their commitment to working together to deliver on the U.S. Pact’s targets,” commented Emily Tipaldo, U.S. Pact executive director. “The elimination of these problematic and unnecessary materials will enable advancements in circular package design, increase opportunities for recovery, and enhance the quality of recycled content available for manufacturers.”

Last week over 70 businesses and financial institutions called for a legally binding UN treaty on plastic pollution.

In a statement prior to the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly next month, the group says the meeting’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee must develop an “ambitious international, legally binding instrument” on plastic pollution.

Acknowledging for the first time plastic pollution is transboundary in nature, the statement recognizes the need to reduce virgin plastic production and use; to stop plastic leakage into nature; and to establish a circular economy for plastics to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss by:

● Including both upstream and downstream policies, aiming to: keep plastics in the economy and out of the environment, reduce virgin plastic production and use, and decouple plastic production from the consumption of fossil resources

● Setting a clear direction to align governments, businesses and civil society behind a common understanding of the causes of plastic pollution and a shared approach to address them. For companies and investors, this creates a level playing field and prevents a patchwork of disconnected solutions, while setting the right enabling conditions to make a circular economy work in practice and at scale

● Providing a robust governance structure to ensure countries’ participation and compliance, with common definitions as well as harmonised standards applicable to all. This facilitates investments to scale innovations, infrastructures, and skills in the countries and industries most in need of international support.

The statement follows the publication of a report in 2020 by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Boston Consulting Group setting out the business case for a treaty that should stop the plastic pollution problem before its starts, set global standards, and encourages all countries and industries to play their part.

“It is no longer a question of whether we need a treaty on plastic pollution, it’s more about what this treaty must look like in order to tackle today’s still rampant plastic pollution crisis,” explained WWF international director general Marco Lambertini. ”These companies are asking governments to agree on a legally-binding set of global regulations and standards, including explicit recognition of the need to reduce virgin plastic production and use.”
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