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Plastics Pact launched to drive circular economy principles

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative aims to move away from the current ‘take-make-dispose’ plastics economy towards one based on circular economy principles. The vision for such a system is that plastics are kept in the economy and out of the environment.

In order to realise this ambitious vision, the New Plastics Economy initiative has launched The Plastics Pact. Each pact will bring together national and local authorities, businesses involved in designing, producing, using and recycling plastics, as well as NGOs, innovators and citizens.

The Plastics Pact is the only initiative of its kind to bring together all relevant stakeholders behind the common agenda and jointly set ambitious, time-bound objectives.

While all the initiatives are led by a local organisation, they all share the New Plastics Economy vision and all commit to achieving ambitious targets by 2025 in the following areas:

  • Eliminate unnecessary and problematic single-use plastic packaging through redesign and innovation.
  • Ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.
  • Increase the collection and recycling of plastic packaging.
  • Increase recycled content in plastic packaging.

The UK Plastics Pact is the first of its type, led by UK charity WRAP, and was launched in April 2018. A second pact is being developed in Chile in collaboration with local B Corp TriCiclos.

The Pact will stimulate innovative new business models to reduce the total amount of plastic packaging. It will also help build a stronger recycling system, where more responsibility is taken with waste, while ensuring plastic packaging can be effectively recycled and made into new products and packaging.

With the support of governments, the Pact will also ensure consistent UK recycling is met.

The immediate focus will be on identifying the priority projects that will deliver greatest impacts in the short and long-term, such as overcoming barriers to increasing the amount of recycled content used in new packaging, developing reusable packaging, and working with partners to overcome the issue of un-recyclable black plastic.

Over time, the organisations involved in each pact will come together to form a Plastics Pact network that will share knowledge and best practice.

Together, these pacts will represent an important part of the effort to designing a global system in which plastics are valued even after use, and so do not become waste.