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“Problematic and Unnecessary Materials List” Released by the U.S. Plastics Pact

Stacks of binders of regulations

The U.S. Plastics Pact’s recently released Problematic and Unnecessary Materials List identifies the following 11 plastic items that are not currently reusable, recyclable, or compostable in the U.S.: 

  • Cutlery
  • Intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
  • Non-detectable pigments such as carbon black
  • Opaque or pigmented polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles (any color other than transparent blue or green)
  • Oxo-degradable additives, including oxo-biodegradable additives
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) in rigid packaging
  • Problematic labels constructions
  • Polystyrene, including expanded polystyrene
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), including polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC)
  • Stirrers when provided as an ancillary item to the primary container
  • Straws when provided as an ancillary item to the primary container

Medical plastics used in clinical, hospital, and related laboratory and research setting are exempted. 

The U.S. Plastics Pact, a consortium that is part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact Network, announced a Roadmap to 2025 in 2021 with four objectives. One of those objectives was to “Define a list of packaging that is problematic or unnecessary by 2021 and take measures to eliminate them by 2025.”