The Recycling Partnership, a non-profit that seeks to revolutionize U.S. recycling practices, recently released its first report that roadmaps how the industry can transition into a circular economy.

The model of a circular economy, which has received increasing global attention, is a closed-loop system of production and consumption where objects are reused, recycled, and transformed, thus reducing waste. By contrast, the current U.S. linear economy relies on single-use practices that result in greater waste.

According to the report, “The Bridge to Circularity: Putting the ‘New Plastics Economy’ into Practice in the U.S.,” there is no single action to transition the underfunded recycling industry into a circular economy. Rather, the report examines three industry-wide issues and provides a roadmap to transition the industry into part of a circular economy.

The partnership estimates the need of $500 million dollars to fund the initiatives.

The report is endorsed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a non-profit that works with various sectors in the U.S. to promote the transition into a national circular economy. The foundation issued a global challenge for a New Plastics Economy that unites over 400 public and private entities to lessen plastic waste and pollution.

The Recycling Partnership’s report outlines three industry issues and solutions:

First: The U.S. recycling infrastructure is not able to support the pace of packaging innovation. The report’s solution is a pathway to recyclability that calls for improvements to make plastics and other materials more recyclable.

Second: The U.S. cannot meet the demand for recycled materials necessary for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global commitment. The report’s solution promotes the use of $250 million dollars to take 340 million pounds of post-consumer plastics and over 2 billion pounds of other packaging for the use of benefitting communities.

Third: The U.S. has underlying challenges when developing a more efficient recycling system. The report’s solution calls for a “Recycling 2.0.” initiative to use another $250 million dollars over five years to overhaul the current recycling system, with improved technology, better data systems, and more consumer participation.

The report is found here: https://recyclingpartnership.org/circularity/

Written by Nicole Foulke