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Supply chain unites to tackle plastic pollution

Over 40 businesses from across the packaging supply chain have pledged to eliminate single-use plastic packaging under a new WRAP-led coalition.

The UK Plastics Pact will see the likes of Tesco, Pizza Hut and Coca Cola join forces with packaging suppliers such as Plastipak and waste processors like Veolia to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution. Members, who also include Unilever and Innocent, are responsible for over 80% of the plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets.

WRAP has convened the group in response to growing concerns over the damage single-use plastic is having on terrestrial and marine environments.

Signatories have committed to reach a number of targets by 2025 including to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative delivery models; and for 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Further targets are for 70% of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled or composted and for manufacturers to achieve a 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

Environment secretary Michael Gove welcomed the commitment by businesses to sign up to the pact and expressed his hope that others would soon follow suit. “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,” said Gove.

The group’s 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 non-recyclable black plastic.

The pact will be replicated in other countries with the intention of forming a powerful global movement for change as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative.