Henkel North America recently announced that it has joined the U.S. Plastics Pact, a collaborative, solutions-driven initiative. The pact is reportedly rooted in four goals intended to drive systems change by unifying diverse cross-sector approaches, setting a national strategy, and creating scalable solutions to create a path forward toward a circular economy for plastics in the U.S. by 2025. The first North American Pact of its kind, the U.S. Pact is a collaboration led by The Recycling Partnership, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
As part of the U.S. Plastics Pact, activators like Henkel recognize that significant, system-wide change is imperative to realize a circular economy for plastics. As such, the U.S. pact will convene more than 70 brands, retailers, NGOs, and government agencies across the plastics value chain to bring one voice to U.S. packaging through coordinated initiatives and innovative solutions for rethinking products, packaging, and business models.
“Henkel is committed to developing more intelligent packaging for the benefit of people and the planet,” said Jillaine Dellis, head of Sustainability for Henkel North America’s Consumer Products business. “Our mission is to integrate materials from sustainable sources into intelligent designs to complete the circle. We are proud to join the U.S. Plastics Pact as a founding member, reinforcing Henkel’s own comprehensive commitments to develop solutions that minimize and manage plastic waste.”
As a founding activator of the U.S. Plastics Pact, Henkel has agreed to collectively deliver against these four goals:
- Define a list of packaging to be designated as problematic or unnecessary by 2021 and take measures to eliminate them by 2025
- By 2025, all plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable
- By 2025, undertake actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging
- By 2025, the average recycled content or responsibly sourced bio-based content in plastic packaging will be 30%
While the U.S. pact is complementary to, and follows the precedents set by the existing global network of Plastic Pacts, it will be tailored to meet the unique needs and challenges of the U.S. market. The pact will reflect national priorities and realities while still propelling the nation closer to other developed nations in its management of plastic waste.
“Together through the U.S. Plastics Pact, we will ignite system change to accelerate progress toward a circular economy,” said Sarah Dearman, vice president of Circular Ventures for The Recycling Partnership. “The U.S. Pact will accelerate systemwide change by inspiring and supporting upstream innovation through a coordinated national strategy, creating a unified framework and enabling members to accelerate progress toward our ambitious 2025 sustainability goals. Members’ full participation will be vital to reaching our shared goals.”
Achieving this vision will require new levels of accountability from all facets of the plastics supply chain. The U.S. pact emphasizes measurable change and, as such, Henkel reports that it is committed to transparent, annual reporting, guided by WWF’s ReSource: Plastic Footprint Tracker, which will be used to document annual progress against the four stated goals. The first task of the founding members of the U.S. Plastics Pact will be to establish a “roadmap” in the first quarter of 2021 to identify key milestones and national solutions to achieving the U.S. targets and realize a circular economy in which plastic never becomes waste.