UK businesses pledge to tackle plastic pollution

Plastic bag usage down 86% in England
Credit: Rich Carey

A world-first pact has launched in the UK with the aim of transforming the nation’s plastic packaging system and preserved the world’s oceans.

Launched by sustainability experts WRAP, The UK Plastics Pact is a unique collaboration which brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste.

42 businesses – including major food, drink and non-food brands, manufacturers and retailers right through to plastic reprocessors and packaging suppliers – have made their commitment to the Pact.

These Pact members are responsible for over 80% of the plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets. In addition, 15 other organisations have also shown their commitment to the Pact.

The powerful collective has committed to hit a series of ambitious targets by 2025, including eliminating problematic of unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative delivery models.

It also aims to ensure that 100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.

The UK Plastics Pact is the first of its kind in the world. It will be replicated in other countries to form a powerful global movement for change as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative. It is being led by WRAP, the sustainability experts.

WRAP CEO, Marcus Gover, said: “Together, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink and reshape the future of plastic so that we retain its value, and curtail the damage plastic waste wreaks on our planet.

“This requires a wholescale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act. That is what makes the UK Plastics Pact unique. It unites everybody, business and organisation with a will to act on plastic pollution. We will never have a better time to act, and together we can.”

Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, added: “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.”