Seattle, Tacoma, King County Help Launch U.S. Plastics Pact Roadmap to 2025, Driving a National Strategy to Address Plastic Waste

The U.S. Plastics Pact Roadmap Outlines Specific Actions and Responsibilities to Realize a Circular Economy for Plastics in America 

(JUNE 15, 2021) –100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025 – that’s one of the bold targets Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), King County, City of Tacoma, and other partners are committed to in order to address a huge problem: plastic waste. Today, Seattle, King County, and nearly 100 other signatories, known as activators, helped launch The U.S. Plastics Pact’s (“U.S. Pact”) “Roadmap to 2025,” an aggressive national strategy to build a circular economy, one that addresses the creation and disposal for plastics, in America. 

Launched in August 2020, The U.S. Plastics Pact is a consortium led by The Recycling Partnership and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network, which unites a broad group of cross-industry stakeholders behind a common vision and national strategy to address plastic waste at its source by 2025.  

“We must address plastic waste, especially single-use plastic, with urgency, or risk further damage to our natural environment,” said SPU General Manager Mami Hara. “The U.S. Pact’s comprehensive, coordinated strategy puts us on the path to an economy that prioritizes environmental health, waste prevention and the continual use of resources. SPU is proud to collaborate with local and national Pact partners on this critical work.”  

As an Activator of the U.S. Pact, Seattle, Tacoma, and King County join other stakeholders across the plastics value chain in achieving systemic change and accelerating progress toward the specific 2025 targets:  

  1. Define a list of packaging to be designated as problematic or unnecessary by 2021 and take measures to eliminate them by 2025. 
  1. 100% of plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025. 
  1. By 2025, undertake ambitious actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging. 
  1. By 2025, the average recycled content or responsibly sourced bio-based content in plastic packaging will be 30%. 

Activators will work to meet 2025 targets by inspiring and supporting upstream innovation to address plastic waste at its source through coordinated initiatives. The effort is rethinking products, packaging, policy, and business models in order to transition away from today’s take-make-waste model to a circular economy where plastics never become waste in the first place. 

“We stand united with our partners to dramatically and quickly reduce the amount of single-use plastics that threaten Puget Sound marine life,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Together, we will lead the transition from petroleum-based, toxic packaging to eco-friendly, sustainable solutions.” 

The U.S. Pact’s Roadmap is designed to kick-start action and help U.S. industry leaders and packaging producers develop a national strategy, advance shared goals, and measure the strength of progress through annual reporting. At the local level, legislation recently passed in Washington State (SB5022)  eliminates unrequested single-use plastics at retail outlets. It also requires plastic bottles and bags to have post-consumer recycled content, which will reduce plastic pollution, and resulting micro-plastics which pollute our waters, and create demand for plastics that can be responsibly recycled. 

 The national strategy will assist Pact Activators in reaching the ambitious 2025 goals that they could not otherwise meet on their own through sharing knowledge, optimizing investments, identifying gaps, overcoming systemic barriers, and implementing policies.  

“With the ever-growing types of plastic packaging and products entering the marketplace, it is imperative that the City of Tacoma and other jurisdictions take a coordinated approach to minimize the amount of plastics sent to the landfill,” said Tacoma’s Environmental Services Director Mike Slevin. 

The Roadmap holds Seattle, Tacoma, King County and other Activators of the U.S. Pact accountable to sustainability objectives by creating the pathway in which companies, governments, and NGOs can successfully ensure that plastics remain in the U.S. economy and out of the environment for years to come. 

Learn more about U. S. Plastics Pact: https://usplasticspact.org/ .