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Pact on plastic pollution

Unnecessary, single-use plastic packaging should become a thing of the past as businesses sign up to a world-first pact, which aims to transform the plastic packaging system in the UK and keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean.

The UK Plastics Pact was launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in April 2018 and will be led by WRAP (Waste Resources Action Programme).

It is a unique collaboration which brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with UK Government and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste[1]. Forty-two businesses, including major food and drink manufacturers and retailers right through to plastic reprocessors and packaging suppliers, have made a 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 UK Plastics Pact is reported to be the first of its kind in the world. The aim is to replicate it in other countries to form a powerful global movement for change as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative. Chile is expected to establish a pact later this year.

The Pact aims to create a circular economy for plastics that tackles the causes of plastics waste and pollution, not just the symptoms. It focuses on innovation, better packaging design and end-of-use systems that will not only generate long-term benefits for the environment, but also represent an economic opportunity. In the UK, the Pact should stimulate innovative new business models to reduce the total amount of plastic packaging. It will also help build a stronger recycling system, where we take more responsibility for our own waste and ensure plastic packaging can be effectively recycled and made into new products and packaging.

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.

WRAP will be launching a campaign in summer to engage citizens and help them to take action.





*Image courtesy WRAP (

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