42 of the UK’s biggest retailers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and brands have taken a historic pledge to completely transform the plastic packaging sector by 2025.
Corporate giants such as Asda, Nestle, Lidl, Coca-Cola, Aldi, PepsiCo, Unilever, Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons, Sainsbury, and Pret a Manger have joined the UK Plastics Pledge to eliminate single-use plastic packaging. Together, the signatories represent roughly 80% of the plastics sold in UK supermarkets.
The initiative, which is orchestrated by waste advisory charity WRAP in collaboration with the UK’s largest nonprofits, recyclers, and governments, has set a series of goals to cut wasteful packaging over the course of the next seven years.
For starters, the initiative will ensure that 100% of plastic packaging must either be recyclable, compostable, or reusable in order to make it onto supermarket shelves. Some supermarkets have gone even further and declared that plastic packaging will no longer be used on fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, the pact seeks to increase the amount of properly recycled plastic from its current rate of 30% to at least 70%.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who is backing the pact, said in a statement: “Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realized 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,” he added.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, one of the industry groups supporting the initiative, will also be helping to expand the initiative to other countries so more governments, businesses, and manufacturers can replicate the goals.
Dame Ellen MacArthur of the MacArthur Foundation said: “This bold new pact will bring together businesses, policymakers and the public to create a circular economy for plastics that tackles the causes of plastic waste and pollution, not just the symptoms. Focusing on innovation, better packaging design and end-of-use systems will not only generate long-term benefits for the environment, but is also a huge economic opportunity.”
“We encourage others around the world to help drive this momentum towards global solutions to what is a global problem.”
The pact comes as a welcome follow-up to the UK’s recent promise to eliminate wasteful plastic packaging by 2042.
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