Details of how brands, governments, and other organisations are tackling plastic pollution have been set out side-by-side for the first time, thanks to a new report published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative, in collaboration with UN Environment.
Major companies including Carrefour, Colgate Palmolive, MARS, Incorporated, Nestlé, SC Johnson, The Coca-Cola Company, and Unilever are publicly disclosing their annual plastic packaging volumes, marking an important step towards greater transparency in today’s plastic system.
Highlights of the report include:
- Consumer goods companies and retailers commit to increase recycled content in their packaging to an average of 25 per cent by 2025, compared with the current global average of just 2 per cent.
- Leading businesses and governments will end the use of problematic and unnecessary plastic – including PVC and single-use plastic straws and carrier bags – many of them by the end of this year
- 40 brands and retailers are piloting or expanding reuse and refill schemes.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation welcomes these initial efforts but calls for more action to eliminate problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging, and a greater shift to reuse delivery models that reduce the need for single-use packaging.
The report follows the launch of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment in October 2018, which established a vision to stop plastic waste and pollution at source by applying circular economy principles.
Since then the number of signatories has risen to more than 350 and now includes Apple, Barilla, Tetra Pak, and L’occitane en Provence, as well as the Government of Rwanda and the cities of Sáo Paulo (Brazil) and Ljubljana (Slovenia).
Financial institutions with more than USD 4 trillion in assets under management have endorsed the commitment.
New Plastics Economy lead Sander Defruyt said: “The targets and action plans set out in this report are a significant step forward compared with the pace of change of past decades. However, they are still far from truly matching the scale of the problem, particularly when it comes to the elimination of unnecessary items and innovation towards reuse models. Ambition levels must continue to rise to make real strides in addressing global plastic pollution by 2025, and moving from commitment to action is crucial. Major investments, innovations, and transformation programmes need to start now.”
Lisa Svensson, UN Environment, Coordinator of the Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Branch, said: “UN Environment is delighted to be working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to help turn the tide on plastic pollution. Within just a few months of the launch of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, we have seen important progress. The Foundation’s work to create a circular economy for plastic aligns very well with our Clean Seas campaign, which has become the biggest global compact addressing marine plastic.”
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