Sustainability experts WRAP have vowed to transform the UK plastic packaging sector by 2025 with today’s launch of the UK Plastics Pact.
The UK Plastics Pact is a collaborative initiative that aims to create a circular economy for plastics, bringing together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs to tackle 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. 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.
WRAP CEO, Marcus Gover, said: “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 every body, business and organisation with a will to act on plastic pollution. We will never have a better time to act, and together we can.”
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said: “Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realised if government, businesses and the public work together. 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.”
Barry Turner, the British Plastics Federation’s Plastics and Flexible Packaging Group Director, said:
“The British Plastics Federation is delighted to support the UK Plastics Pact. We are committed to playing our part in leaving the environment in a better state for future generations. As the experts on plastics, we look forward to providing industry insight while continuing to develop the BPF’s Marine Litter Platform, with its objective of stopping plastic waste entering our oceans.”
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.