We’re Creating a New Path Forward

The Pathway to Circularity is a first-of-its-kind initiative for the U.S. that provides transparent action-oriented solutions for packaging circularity challenges. It is intended to wash away the gray and bring necessary clarity and solutions for stakeholders to successfully navigate and advance the circular economy for packaging.

The Recyclability Framework is the first element of the Pathway to Circularity to be developed. It defines a clear set of criteria to help companies successfully navigate the recycling system and take action to address challenges, thereby making circularity tangible. The Framework strives to deliver new depth to industry conversations on the varying factors that shape recycling.

The five building blocks that make up the Framework are – design for circularity, recyclability prevalence, access and adoption, capture journey, and packaging fate. Within each building block are key requirements for packaging to be considered for recycling ranging from MRF capture rate, to end market demand, and more. The Framework is an important tool in transforming the recycling system by aligning stakeholders behind the steps needed to evolve the packaging that is going into it.

We recently hosted an introductory webinar, reviewing the draft Pathway Recyclability Framework in detail.
View the webinar.

How is Pathway Being Developed?

Pathway to Circularity Industry Council

The Framework was developed in collaboration with the Pathway to Circularity Industry Council (the Circularity Council), 35 industry leaders spanning the packaging value chain. Their role is to support the process of defining a clear set of criteria to help companies determine if their packaging can navigate the recycling system and to provide them with the necessary actions to advance their packaging towards recyclability and meet their sustainability goals.

The Circularity Council (see full list of members here) leverages the expertise and varied perspectives across material types, brands, government, Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), NGOs, retailers, and trade associations.  This group is addressing the missing and needed determinants for recyclability of packaging, and what actions must take place to help packaging in the U.S. recycling system.

The Future of Pathway

The Recyclability Framework was open for public comment for a period of 30 days from August 19th to September 17th 2021. Collected feedback will be used to build upon the existing framework. This period was an essential part of a long-term plan to evolve the Pathway to Circularity and connect it with The Recycling Partnership’s strategy-setting tools and initiatives for sustainable packaging, such as the recently launched Plastic IQ.


A Roadmap for Success

The Pathway to Circularity is a roadmap to help producers ensure their packaging is recyclable and really gets recycled. It will outline, address, and successfully navigate current and future packaging and recycling system challenges that limit the recycling of packaging materials today, making circularity tangible.

Thank you to our partners in helping us to build this pathway and making circularity a possibility for Americans.