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The UK Plastics Pact

Plastic bottles, waste

There’s no escaping the latest hot topic – plastic. This week, over 40 companies, including the likes of Coca-Cola and Pepsico, have signed a pact to cut plastic pollution. The signatories of the UK Plastics Pact are collectively responsible for over 80% of the plastic packaging that is sold through UK supermarkets.

The 2025 pact target, set by charity WRAP, aims to:

· make 100% of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable

· make 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted

· eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models

· have 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

To some, this may seem like long overdue action but environmental groups have welcomed the move. Friends of the Earth plastics campaigner, Julian Kirby, said the pact was a “move in the right direction” but added “regulations and taxes should be introduced" to encourage the industry to boost their recycling and re-use of the material.

In January we wrote about Iceland’s move to remove plastic packaging from their own branded products by the end of 2023. This is still their intention and whilst they have vocalised support of the initiative, Iceland boss Richard Walker said “We have taken the decision not to participate directly in their Plastic Pact because we have already taken a more far-reaching decision to eliminate plastic packaging from our own label range in its entirety by 2023. Given the scale of our ambition, we feel that is right to focus all Iceland’s resources on delivering this.”

Ellen MacArthur, the yachtswoman who has long campaigned for reusable plastic products, is also a strong supporter of the pact along with her foundation . She added “We encourage others around the world to help drive this momentum towards finding global solutions to what is a global problem.”

We hope to see many more businesses follow suit too.

Published: 26th April 2018

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