More than 40 businesses, which are responsible for 80% of plastic packaging sold through UK supermarkets, have signed up to a ‘pact’ to tackle plastic pollution.
The UK Plastics Pact, which will be launched later today by WRAP, aims to eliminate “problematic or unnecessary“ single-use plastic packaging by 2025, as well as to ensure 100% of plastic packaging is recyclable.
The other aims include a 70% rate of plastic packaging “effectively” recycled or composted, and a 30% rate of average recycled content across all plastic packaging.
WRAP described the pact as a “unique collaboration”, bringing together business from across the plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs to tackle plastic waste.
Alongside the 40 businesses which have signed up, 15 organisations have also joined including the Resource Association, the Environmental Services Association and the British Retail Consortium.
Some of the major businesses involved include ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Coca-Cola, Lucozade Ribena Suntory and PepsiCo UK.
It is hoped the scheme will be replicated in other countries to form a “powerful global movement for change”.
In the UK, WRAP say the immediate focus will be on identifying the priority projects that will deliver the greatest impacts in the short and long term.
This includes “overcoming barriers to increasing the amount of recycled content used in new packaging” and developing reusable packaging, as well as working with partners to overcome the issue of un-recyclable black plastic.
It will also, according to WRAP, “help build a stronger recycling system”, where it will be ensured that plastic packaging can be recycled and, with the support of governments, ensure consistent UK recycling is met.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who will be speaking when the UK Plastics Pact is unveiled later, said that he hopes to see more businesses sign up and reiterated the need for cooperation.
Mr Gove said: “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.”
WRAP CEO, Marcus Gover, added that the problem of plastic pollution requires a “wholescale transformation” of the plastics system.
He 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.”