Trending: Industry Continues to Arm Itself in War on Plastic Waste

A new accelerator from the US Plastics Pact aims to catalyze broader adoption of reusable and refillable packaging options, while an upskilling program from
rePurpose Global aims to help sustainability leaders more effectively tackle plastic pollution.

US Plastics Pact’s Reuse Catalyst aims to propel reuse & refill pilots


Image credit: Izzy Zero Waste Beauty

This week, the US Plastics Pact began accepting
applications for its Reuse
Catalyst
— a program designed to
support and develop innovators of scalable reuse and refill solutions for the
United States. Reusable packaging reduces the demand for non-renewable
virgin plastic packaging, and offers a strong economic growth opportunity:
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, if even 20 percent of global
plastic packaging were converted to reusable packaging, $10
billion
would
be added into the economy.

The reuse/refill packaging revolution is rapidly gaining popularity in the
consumer product market — already on offer via startup innovators such as Izzy Zero Waste
Beauty

and major players such as
Olay,
several Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health
brands

and TerraCycle’s Loop
platform
.
But industry-wide collaboration and backing is needed to drive a broader shift
away from disposable-as-usual. Catalyzing and scaling this shift will aid the US
Pact — which now consists of more than 110 organizations spanning the plastics
value chain — in achieving its ambitious goal of creating a circular economy
for plastic in the US by
2025
.

“The Reuse Catalyst aims to bolster the development of emerging and established
reuse innovators; and the broader industry, through shared learnings, expertise,
connectivity and amplification,” said Emily Tipaldo, Executive Director of
the US Plastics Pact. “This program aligns with the US Pact’s Target
2
in the Roadmap to 2025 —
specifically, in increasing the amount of reusable and refillable plastic
packaging.”

A Guide to Plastic Action for CPGs

Join us as representatives from rePurpose Global, Grove Collaborative and The Clorox Company share everything from new methodologies for comprehensive plastic footprint measurement to robust strategies for reduction to transparent and traceable plastic credits for immediate impact — at SB’22 San Diego.

The Reuse Catalyst was jointly created by the US Pact, Closed Loop
Partners
,
the Reusable Packaging Association and World
Wildlife
Fund

(WWF). There is no cost to apply to or participate in the program.

Who is eligible:

  • Companies of all sizes that are testing or piloting commercial reusable or
    refillable packaging systems within the United States.

  • Both participating companies (known as
    Activators)
    and organizations that are not presently participating in the US Pact can
    apply.

Judging criteria:

Each applicant’s reuse or refill program will be scored using the following
considerations:

  • Environmental — including the product material, the number of possible
    reuses, and greenhouse gas emissions;

  • Social — including the accessibility, affordability and customer
    desirability of the product;

  • Economic — including market demand, cost-savings models, and additional
    value provided by the reuse product or system;

  • Scalability — including the diversity and scale of partnerships,
    interoperability of the product, location, and the product category.

Selected companies will receive:

  • Access to the US Pact network — including the potential for 1:1 meetings
    with retailers, investors and mentors, which could lead to further learning
    opportunities and partnerships.

  • Meetings with all participating innovators to collaborate and discuss
    progress, obstacles, and assistance.

  • Brand recognition as formal US Plastics Pact Reuse Catalyst Partners.

The Reuse Catalyst’s
application

is now open and will close on October 20, 2022. Selected businesses will
participate in the Reuse Catalyst program for 6-18 months.

“As the preferred inner loop activity in a circular economy, the reuse of
packaging products in a system of continuous purpose offers tremendous
value-creating potential,” said Tim Debus, President & CEO of the Reusable
Packaging Association. “Collaborations across stakeholders and service providers
are important elements to optimize that value. The US Pact’s Reuse Catalyst
program will help reuse entrepreneurs tap into the Pact’s collaborative network
of experts to support their developing reusable or refillable packaging
solution.”


rePurpose Global launches upskilling initiative to increase efficacy of the fight against plastic pollution


Image credit: rePurpose Global

Meanwhile, rePurpose Global, creators of the first
Plastic Neutral
certification

for brands, has launched the Plastic Reality
Project
— a first-of-its-kind
education initiative dedicated to upskilling and arming corporate leaders and
environmental practitioners with knowledge and experiences to help shape
plastic-reduction efforts towards reduced inefficiencies, broader inclusivity
and greater impact.

According to independent research by
Gartner
,
90 percent of sustainable packaging commitments set by global enterprises are
not on track to be met by 2025; while WWF
predicts
that global plastic production will more than double by the end of the decade.
To help bridge this gap between ambition and action, the Plastic Reality Project
aims to build on initiatives such as the Ocean Plastics Leadership
Network

by upskilling 5,000 sustainability leaders in the next five years on how to more
effectively tackle plastic pollution through on-the-ground educational expeditions, corporate
training programs, peer mentoring networks, and a competency-based certification
scheme for individual professionals.

“As an environmental finance provider, we at rePurpose Global have evaluated
hundreds of attempts to tackle plastic pollution across the globe in recent
years — most of which have achieved limited success and
scale
,”
said Peter Wang Hjemdahl, Chief Advocacy Officer at rePurpose Global.
“Through the Plastic Reality Project, we hope to turn this spotty track record
around and empower sustainability decision-makers with the knowledge they need
to reduce bias in evaluating solutions, make better impact
investments
,
and ultimately accelerate our fight against the plastic epidemic.”

Launched with support from Sustainable Ocean
Alliance
and GreenBiz
Group
, the inaugural Project took place earlier this
month as a week-long expedition to the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and
Kerala.

“Marine plastic pollution is a complex reality that can be difficult to grasp,
let alone solve,” said Craig Dudenhoeffer, Chief Innovation Officer at
Sustainable Ocean Alliance. “This new initiative from rePurpose very much aligns
with SOA’s mission to create a global workforce dedicated to restoring ocean
health, and brings impact leaders to the heart of the issue to instigate
meaningful action.”

To date, rePurpose Global has supported over 10,000 waste innovators in
implementing previously missing waste-collection systems and plastic-reduction
infrastructure across 15 cities in India, Indonesia, Kenya, Colombia
and Ghana; the organization estimates it is catalyzing the diversion of over
14 million pounds of plastic waste away from ocean, nature and landfills every
year.

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