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UK businesses make world-leading pact to tackle plastic pollution
Unnecessary single-use plastic packaging will be a thing of the past as businesses sign up to a world-first pact, which aims to transform the plastic packaging system in the UK and keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean.
The UK Plastics Pact, launched today by sustainability expert WRAP, is a unique collaboration which brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste.
Today 42 businesses, including major food, drink and non-food brands, manufacturers and retailers right through to plastic reprocessors and packaging suppliers have made their commitment to the Pact. These Pact members are responsible for over 80% of the plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets (www.wrap.org.uk).
In addition, 15 other organisations have also shown their commitment to the Pact.
This powerful collective has committed to hit a series of ambitious targets by 2025:
* Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models.
* 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
* 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted.
* 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.
* The UK Plastics Pact is the first of its kind in the world. It will be replicated in other countries to form a powerful global movement for change as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy initiative. It is being led by WRAP, the sustainability experts.
The Secretary of State for the Environment Rt. Hon Michael Gove will be speaking at the launch event this evening in London, which is being hosted by WRAP. Mr Gove will be joined by Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and WRAP CEO Marcus Gover, to officially unveil the Pact and start the journey to transforming the UK plastics system.
WRAP CEO, Marcus Gover, says of the initiative: "Together, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink and reshape the future of plastic so that we retain its value, and curtail the damage plastic waste wreaks on our planet. This requires a wholescale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act.
"That is what makes the UK Plastics Pact unique. It unites everybody, business and organisation with a will to act on plastic pollution. We will never have a better time to act, and together we can."
Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, says: "We are delighted to launch this pioneering national implementation initiative with WRAP in the UK. This bold new pact will bring together businesses, policymakers and the public to create a circular economy for plastics that tackles the causes of plastics waste and pollution, not just the symptoms.
"Focusing on innovation, better packaging design and end-of-use systems will not only generate long-term benefits for the environment, but is also a huge economic opportunity. We encourage others around the world to help drive this momentum towards finding global solutions to what is a global problem."
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, says that our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realised if government, businesses and the public work together, and that industry action can prevent excess plastic reaching our supermarket shelves in the first place.
"I am delighted to see so many businesses sign up to this pact and I hope others will soon follow suit," he says.
Minister for Clean Energy, Claire Perry says.; "Momentum is gathering around this crucial mission and it is fantastic to see WRAP leading on this world-first pact to reduce plastic pollution. Last week, we committed �61.4m to boost global research to help Commonwealth countries reduce plastic usage and prevent plastic waste from ending up in our seas. Today's commitment is another vital step towards achieving a plastic past and looking towards a cleaner future."
Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham says she believes that we all need to take action to address the scourge of plastic littering our countryside and seas.
"The Scottish Government has already introduced the household recycling charter to simplify recycling, committed to introducing a deposit return scheme and will shortly be consulting on proposals to ban the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds in Scotland," she notes. "Today we further build on that action as Pact signatories by looking to review the use of plastics across the public sector in Scotland."
Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Hannah Blythyn, says: "We welcome businesses taking a proactive approach to tackling plastic pollution, which is a step towards achieving our target of Wales becoming a zero-waste nation by 2050.
"In Wales, we will shortly be publishing our research into extending producer responsibility for food and drink packaging waste, while exploring options such as a UK-wide deposit return scheme."
In the UK the Pact will stimulate innovative new business models to reduce the total amount of plastic packaging. It will also help build a stronger recycling system, where we take more responsibility for our own waste and ensure plastic packaging can be effectively recycled and made into new products and packaging and, with the support of governments, ensure consistent UK recycling is met.
The immediate focus will be on identifying the priority projects that will deliver greatest impacts in the short and long term, such as overcoming barriers to increasing the amount of recycled content used in new packaging, developing reusable packaging and working with partners to overcome the issue of un-recyclable black plastic.
We all have a role to play. For the Pact to truly be holistic and involve everyone, WRAP will be launching a campaign in summer to engage citizens and help us all take action.
If you want your business to be a leader in the transition to a circular economy for plastics, contact [email protected] and join the Pact. For more information see:
26th April 2018