Editor’s Note: On July 29, we updated the number of organizations participating in The U.S. Plastic Pact and extended the Innovation Awards submission deadline to Aug. 19.
When Walmart launched the Circular Connector in April 2022, our goal was to connect companies with more sustainable packaging innovations with those who are looking for those types of solutions. We knew we weren’t alone in this search with over 500 organizations around the world signing on to The Ellen McArthur Foundation’s and UNEP’s New Plastic Economy Global Commitment. This is why we developed the Circular Connector to be open and accessible to the public.
To accelerate the search for — and use of — more sustainable packaging solutions, we are collaborating with the U.S. Plastic Pact next by gifting the use of Circular Connector for their first ever Innovation Awards. The U.S. Plastic Pact, which unites more than 110 organizations – including Walmart – aims to ensure that plastics never become waste by eliminating the plastics we don’t need, innovating to ensure that the plastics we do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulating all the plastic items we use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.
These inaugural awards have been designed to inspire new solutions and provide a unique platform for innovators to test their ideas. All companies that submit packaging solutions into the Circular Connector before Aug. 19, 2022, will be considered for the award. It is free to enter, open to businesses of all sizes as long as they serve the U.S. market, and will focus on three categories:
- Recyclability – meets design for recyclability in U.S. systems (i.e., meets the Association of Plastic Recyclers Preferred Design Guidelines, How2Recycle Guidelines, contains no problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging), supports the transition from non-recyclable to recyclable and/or meets Walmart’s Recycling Playbook Recyclable “Green” Pages(s)
- Reuse/Refill – where packaging is refilled or reused for the same purpose it was originally sold
- Compostability – meets the Biodegradable Products Institute’s composting certification standards
Winners Will Receive:
- Manufacturing trial discussions with Walmart
- Four 30-minute mentoring sessions with Walmart Private Brand Packaging Teams
- Promotion through U.S. Plastics Pact channels, including highlights at sustainability conferences
- Technology showcase with procurement and technical staff from U.S. Plastics Pact activators spanning across the plastics value chain
- Chance to be featured on the Sustainable Packaging Podcast
Additional characteristics that will be considered in the judging criteria include sustainable sourcing, virgin plastic reduction, and material health. Winners will be announced in fall 2022. Ready to submit? Visit the Circular Connector to get started and email: firstname.lastname@example.org with questions!