The UK Plastics Pact is an innovative and collaborative group that has come together to help create a circular economy for plastics.
The pact has been signed by 68 businesses who are leaders in manufacturing, retail and waste management, as well as organisations such as Ecosurety, who have joined in an advisory role. It is thought that Pact’s members are accountable for around 50% of the total plastic packaging placed on the UK market.
Over the next 7 years the UK Plastics Pact members have some tough targets to meet, but it is not an exaggeration to say that these targets are visionary and will result in real change in the way that the United Kingdom uses and recycles plastic packaging:
Target 1: 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
Target 2: 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted
Target 3: Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models
Target 4: 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging
World leading targets
Ecosurety are really encouraged by the aims set by the UK Plastics Pact. They are truly world-leading targets, and these commitments will transform the way in which we design, produce, use, re-use, dispose and recycle plastics. Further than that, we believe that this likely to just be the beginning - these innovative targets may well shape the way in which all packaging producers have to report and work with plastics going forward; after all, the UKPP aims to galvanise wider action by governments, investors, NGOs and businesses who are not members of the Pact.
It is important to note that the Treasury already seem to have picked up on this kind of thinking on plastic, with Philip Hammond, announcing in the most recent budget a new tax on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic
Consequently, even if you are not a member of the Pact, the way in which you keep track of your plastic packaging data, and the information that you collect on it, may well be something that you want to keep a close eye on going forward.
A roadmap to 2025
To play our part we have been actively participating in the Collective Action Groups, which are working towards definitions for the terms in the targets and the criteria for achieving them. Now, to ensure that the Pact's packaging producer members keep on track with the 7-year deadline, the UK Plastics Pact has published its roadmap to 2025 which highlights key outcomes that should be met by April 2019, end of 2022 and end of 2025 - downloadable here:
Many of the actions that need to be taken within the roadmap are considerable consumer campaigns and consumer engagement, to inform the public of the importance of the UK Plastics Pact targets and how to effectively recycle plastics. The roadmap also emphasizes the need for considerable investment in innovative UK-based plastic recycling/reprocessing businesses.
For the packaging producers themselves, the roadmap set out the need to review their packaging portfolios and identifying the opportunities to improve recyclability, recycled content and consumer messaging. They will also work to obtain accurate data for tracking and reporting their progress against the targets; and this should be a priority as they will be expected to publicly report progress.
Time to start asking important questions
Following the publishing of the roadmap, those that have taken the bold step to commit to these targets, will now need to start asking themselves some important questions. Do we currently have a system of tracking packaging data? What information do we, or don’t we hold? Do we have someone who is specifically in charge of this project? If UK Plastics Pact members are unsure about how they may be capturing the necessary data, get in touch with us and we can help you.
We eagerly anticipate the changes that the UK Plastics Pact will bring and the opportunity to be working with members from the first key outcome to the last in 2025. We are also looking forward to continuing our supportive role in the Collaborative Action Groups, and to help any business, whether they are a UK Plastics Pact members or not, that would like to keep track of progress against any personally set goals.
If you'd like to have a conversation about how we can assist with your Plastics Pact commitments, please contact our team.
Anna provides key support for Ecosurety members across the batteries, packaging and WEEE regulations, with a particular focus on import and manufacture companies. Helping with data submissions, calculating obligations and making the nuances of the producer responsibility regulations understandable are all in a days work.