A Banbury company is at the forefront of making unnecessary single-use plastic packaging a thing of the past as part of a world-first pact launched today (Thursday, April 26).
The UK Plastics Pact is a unique collaboration which brings together businesses from across the plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs to tackle waste.
Sustainability expert Wrap, based in George Street, has worked with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to set up the pact, which is being launched by Environment Secretary Michael Gove in London tonight.
“Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realised if government, businesses and the public work together,” Mr Gove said.
“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.”
So far, 42 businesses, including major food, drink and non-food brands, manufacturers and retailers to plastic reprocessors and packaging suppliers have made their commitment to the pact.
These members are responsible for over 80 per cent of the plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets, with Asda, Tesco, Unilever and many others signed up.
In addition, 15 other organisations have also shown their commitment to the pact.
Wrap chief executive 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.”
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.
• All plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
• Seventy per cent of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted.
• Thirty per cent 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. .
Ellen MacArthur, founder of the foundation, said: “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.
“Focussing 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.”
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 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 together to overcome the issue of un-recyclable black plastic.
British Plastics Federation director of plastics and flexible packaging Barry Turner 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.
“We look forward to providing industry expertise while continuing to develop the BPF’s Marine Litter Platform, with its objective of stopping plastic waste entering our oceans.”
To join the pact, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and for more information see www.wrap.org.uk/UKplasticspact.