Companies that joined the U.S. Plastics Pact have committed to ensuring that 100% of their packaging is recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025. Switching out of the “Hard-to-Recycle” formats (i.e., other polymer rigids, small packaging formats, non-PE film, pouches, other flexibles, and multi-material blends) can help meet that target by increasing a package’s recovery and recycling rates.
The Walmart Recycling Playbook recommends transitioning out of PS (both rigid and foam). Examples of this type of transition might include converting EPS egg cartons to PET thermoform (3) or molded paper; transitioning yogurt containers and other tubs to PP; moving rigid PS clamshells to PET; and changing PVC blister packs to PET (4) or paperboard boxes.
Mono-material PE film is increasingly available in formats that can, in many cases, provide similar barrier properties to multi-material films, including stand-up pouches (5) and produce bags (6). While, in the U.S., mono-layer PE film currently has the highest acceptability in return-to-retail programs nationwide, mono-material PP film may also one day become acceptable in parallel programs as its usage grows.