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Creating Clarity on the Pathway to Circularity

Navigating the recycling system has historically been challenging, in part because there are no widely accepted recyclability standards. Our Pathway to Circularity for Packaging, another example of collaboration to solve a complex challenge, was created to wash away the gray and bring necessary clarity to advance a circular economy for packaging.

“Together, we are building the roadmap to the packaging system of the future—a guide to advance package design, improve community access, help policymakers define what is recyclable, inform recyclability claims, and drive new innovations.”
Sarah Dearman, Chief Innovation Officer, The Recycling Partnership

The Residential Recyclability Framework, the first element of the Pathway to Circularity for Packaging, provides users with a step-by-step process to assess packaging recyclability. Through a series of “building blocks” that a package must meet to be considered recyclable, the framework identifies opportunities to take action and solve challenges where necessary.

The Framework was created with valuable input from the Circularity Council, 35 leaders from across the recycling system. It also references existing design guides and protocols from industry associations. But we didn’t stop there — in August 2021, we opened the Framework for public comment and received over 750 individual comments from 70 organizations, demonstrating the critical need for the Framework as well as the recycling industry’s desire for these guidelines. We incorporated that feedback into the Framework and brought it to life through the Circular Packaging Assessment Tool. This tool serves as an interactive version of the Framework to help assess a package’s recyclability and understand actions needed to “pass” through all requirements.

See more stories of how The Recycling Partnership is solving with brands and retailers in the 2022 Impact Report.

Download the 2022 Impact Report