We're Creating a New Path Forward

The Pathway to Circularity is an action-oriented and solutions-based initiative that makes navigating these types of challenges clearer. It is evident that consumer packaging will continue to change and impact curbside recycling collection. Emerging packaging formats, such as the example of film and flexible plastic packaging, should ideally be moving toward the status of a mainstream recyclable material.

From Technically Recyclable to Commonly Accepted

Through the Pathway to Circularity, The Recycling Partnership will explain how a certain material or format can get to be formally and commonly accepted as a recycled commodity, and what steps would need to be taken to be considered widely recyclable. The Recycling Partnership does not require or mandate this pathway be followed. That is up to the brand, manufacturer, supplier, etc.



Industry funding and integrated work is critical to making fast progress on these issues. In 2019, The Recycling Partnership launched the Pathway to Circularity, an initiative to build a stage-gate process to enable companies to move packaging from technically recyclable to commonly accepted for recycling. This effort is resulting in the creation of voluntary material and packaging-specific collaboratives to bring value chains together to solve packaging and supply challenges pre-competitively such as the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition.

The Recycling Partnership hopes to achieve system change through The Pathway to Circularity Industry Council (Circularity Council), which includes industry leaders representing various material types, brands, city and state, MRFs, and retailers. The objective of the Circularity Council is to form a cohesive network to enable industry alignment, break down barriers, and catalyze system change. The Council will address core program principals, align on the overarching framework, and identify gray areas and other challenges.

Ultimately, the Council will define new industry thresholds needed to successfully navigate the recyclability and circularity of packaging materials today.

Circularity of a Package

Brands manufacture products, we all use it, we recycle it, a MRF sends it to manufacturers for remaking it into a new product, and then we can buy a product made from recycled material. This is what’s called the lifecycle of circular packaging. We all play a part!

The world of recycling and circular packaging is part of what we consider a circular economy – one that seeks to eliminate waste by reusing and remaking a product over and over again. Only through recycling can we protect the planet by eliminating waste and using fewer natural resources. Check out this video that explains the circularity of packaging. Join the Pathway to Circularity initiative to be a part of this exciting roadmap to a circular economy.



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.



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Join Us on the Pathway

It’s up to all of us to move from a make-waste economy to a circular one. By getting the U.S. on a pathway to circularity, we can make a difference. We’re all in this bin together. Join us today.



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