Climate Action

UK businesses commit to remove eight “problem plastics” by 2020

In the aftermath of WRAP’s new progress report, UK Plastics Pact signatories have committed to eliminate eight “problem plastics” by 2020.

  • 27 June 2019
  • Poppy Bootman

In the aftermath of WRAP’s new progress report, UK Plastics Pact signatories have committed to eliminate eight “problem plastics” by 2020.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has released a new progress report identifying 8 plastic items that can be eliminated by the end of 2020.

The UK Government announced in May that plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers – three of the identified eight - were to be banned by April 2020. The UK Plastics Pact has now included a phase-out programme for the remaining five; plastic cutlery, polystyrene packaging, oxo-degradables, PVC packaging and disposable plastic plates and bowls.

The Pact, originally launched in 2018, represents 127 members, accounting for 85% of plastic packaging in UK supermarkets including Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

The commitment requires members to produce and put into practise solutions to replace the banned items and ensure the target of removing all problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging is achieved by 2025.

Members are instructed that substitution of materials cannot cause negative environmental impacts nor can packaging solutions increase food waste. The Pact has specifically set targets to ensure 100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable. 

WRAP director, Peter Maddox commented on the significance of the Pact:  “We know that more people than ever are concerned about the impact of plastics. The fundamental way industry can support this public desire is by addressing the issues that lead to plastic packaging being problematic.

“So, for every item of packaging, we need to consider whether plastic is the right material choice, or indeed if packaging is required at all. In many cases, plastic may be the best material choice from an environmental perspective. In these cases, we need to ensure that the plastic can be and is recycled. The items listed today are priorities for UK Plastics Pact members, and the onus is on those members to implement changes, urgently.”

A more expansive list of removable plastics is being researched by WRAP including plastic bags, bottle tops and PVC cling film.

Read the full report here.