One year since UK business across the plastics supply chain made a unique pact to tackle plastics pollution, WRAP has published a report of progress made by all members.
The UK Plastics Pact has set four ambitious targets to be achieved by 2025, and members have reported progress against each one in the new progress report (downloadable here), demonstrating how collaboration across the entire plastics supply chain can deliver real change.
The targets each member of the Pact have agreed to are:
- Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models
- 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
- 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted
- 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging
The report reveals that many brands have met or even exceeded some targets, including innocent who have achieved a minimum of 30% recycled content in their bottles, with their smoothie bottles now containing 50%.
Danone meanwhile has reported that all evian 75cl, 1L and 1.5L bottles produced for the UK market now contain 50% recycled content and Highland Spring Group have launched PET bottles with 100% recycled content.
Phasing out problematic plastic
Regarding removing unrecyclable black plastic, members of the pact have made notable progress. M&S for example have phased out 1,700 tonnes of black plastic packaging and Lidl has removed all black plastic packaging from primary fruit and vegetable packaging. Other members are collaborating with waste management companies to introduce a new type of black pigment that can be detected by infra-red scanners and therefore recycled.
To eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging, Morrisons has estimated that it now removes 30 tonnes of plastic and 65m straws per year and M&S has replaced plastic cutlery with alternatives made from FSC certified wood.
Impressive as this progress is, it is encouraging to see that there are plenty more pledges made against the targets for the near future, including refillable products that use reusable packaging. The UK Plastics Pact runs until 2025 but WRAP is challenging members to act urgently.
By the end of this year for example, all members should remove polystyrene and PVC from food packaging and by 2020 have elimininated it from non-food products. By the end of 2019 all member are also requested to only use plastics that can be easily detected and sorted in the recycling process.
Building a solid foundation
WRAP CEO Marcus Gover commented “The first year was about building solid foundations and setting a clear direction of travel for collaborative change. Moving forward there will be tough decisions to make, new innovations to foster, and investment to be made – all at great pace and with an urgency that reflects the scale of the problem we are tackling."
"Our members have shown they are up for the challenge and we have great momentum to propel us forward. I’m convinced we are on the way to transforming forever the way we make, use and dispose of plastic.”
Assistance for Plastics Pact members
Jon Brookes, head of partnerships at Ecosurety commented "As a leading compliance scheme and UK Plastics Pact member, Ecosurety are perfectly positioned to assist our members with their Plastics Pact reporting and data analysis requirements."
"Our team of technical experts are highly experienced working with our members' complex data sets and collaboratively we are able to help find tangible and sustainable solutions to tackle the plastics issue."
Ecosurety can provide assistance to brands who have made Plastics Pact commitments, including complex packaging data analysis and reporting. If you would like to discuss this with our team, please contact us on 0333 4330 370, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your Ecosurety account manager directly.
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