Government, NGOs and 42 businesses from across the entire plastics value chain have made a pact to transform the UK’s plastic packaging system - a world first that will be replicated in other countries.
The 42 businesses include major food, drink and non-food brands, manufacturers and retailers, right through to plastic reprocessors and packaging suppliers.
Collectively, they are responsible for over 80 per cent of plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets.
The members of the pact have all committed to a series of targets to achieve by 2025:
• Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models
• Make 100% of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable
• Ensure 70% of plastic packaging is effectively recycled or composted
• Achieve 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.
The UK Plastics Pact, brokered by UK NGO, WRAP, is the first of its kind in the world. It will be replicated in other countries as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative, with Chile the next in line.
In the UK the immediate focus will be on identifying the priorities that will deliver the greatest impacts in the short and long term. This includes increasing the amount of recycled content in new packaging, developing reusable packaging, and overcoming the issue of ‘un-recyclable’ black plastic.
Later this year, the government will also launch a consultation to ban a range of single-use plastics in England, including plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.
Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “I am delighted to see so many businesses sign up to this pact and I hope others will soon follow suit.”
Food supplier, the Cranswick Group, said it was looking forward to collaborating with its peers “to affect real and long-term change”, while the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said it would “look to encourage wider member engagement” in the initiative.