But the pact chairman defended the exit, saying it was necessary because some materials “will never run in a circular path – never reusable, recyclable or compostable status”.
“It is necessary to identify these materials and formats now to meet the overall 2025 schedule,” said Executive Director Emily Tipaldo. “Some things can no longer be used because there are other ways to bring these products to market with circular solutions.”
Later this year, the group plans to publish a detailed list of plastic packaging that its member companies will move away from, and then implement it by 2025.
In an interview, Tipaldo said the group was interested in getting more resin suppliers to join the pact, in part to leverage their research and development expertise. The pact includes plastics processors and recyclers.
But only one resin maker, Eastman Chemical Co., is currently a member, and Tipaldo said it was “a little harder” to gain membership in the materials sector.
She said materials companies had reiterated ACC’s concerns about creating a list of “problematic” plastic packaging. She also said they had expressed concern that the pact’s schedules were too aggressive and that individual companies would be held accountable if they were not adhered to.
ACC also criticized the pact for not mentioning the role of chemical recycling in its roadmap.
“The US Plastics Pact roadmap lacks recognition of the role advanced recycling will play in ensuring that more types of plastics are recycled and used over and over,” Baca said, arguing that such technologies are used to recycle films can, mixed containers made of plastic and polystyrene foam.
“As an industry, we hope the pact will focus more on proactive efforts to promote plastics recycling and develop the circular economy for plastics,” said Baca.
However, Tipaldo, who served as the director of plastic packaging and consumer products at ACC from 2014 to 2018, said the pact saw a role for chemical recycling. She just doesn’t think the technologies will be commercially available by 2025, at least on a large enough scale.
“We are primarily focusing on the activities and pathways that will be most useful to this end, and full commercial recycling of chemicals is an extended period of time,” said Tipaldo.
She added that the pact focuses on measures to achieve recyclability, reusability and compostability, rather than the types of recycling.