Climate Action

Landmark pact unites major businesses to end plastic waste for good

Over 50 major manufacturers and retailers have signed up to a world’s-first pact to completely eliminate plastic packaging from its supply chain.

  • 26 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

Over 50 major manufacturers and retailers have signed up to a world-first pact to completely eliminate plastic packaging from its supply chain.

The UK Plastics Pact brings together a range of brand names which are responsible for 80 percent of all the plastic packaging sold in UK supermarkets. These include heavy hitters, such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Coca-Cola, ASDA, Nestle, and Unilever.

Under the terms of the new initiative, the companies have committed to “eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging”, which will include the wholesale redesigning and alternative use of packaging across their entire business.

100 percent of plastic packaging will have to be “reusable, recyclable, or compostable” by 2025.

The pact is being led by sustainability experts WRAP and the Ellen McCarthur Foundation, which works on building a circular economy.

The UK Government, Scottish and Welsh Governments have also pledged support to the initiative. Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, commented ahead of a launch event: “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. 

“I am delighted to see so many businesses sign up to this pact and I hope others will soon follow suit.”

It is hoped the ambitious campaign can be replicated around the world with the aim of greatly reducing the damage caused by non-biodegradable plastics on the environment.

Ellen MacArthur said: “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.”

She added that to that to achieve the demanding targets will require a focus on innovation, better packaging design, and investment in end-of-use systems. This 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.”

WRAP will start work immediately on identifying the projects which can deliver the maximum impact in both the short and long term. These include building a stronger recycling system and overcoming barriers to reusing packaging.

The UK’s Minister for Clean Energy, Claire Perry added: “Momentum is gathering around this crucial mission and it is fantastic to see WRAP leading on this world-first pact to reduce plastic pollution”.

The full list of members to the pact can be found here.