Business titans commit to elimination of plastic packaging waste by 2025

Almost 300 organizations representing approximately 20% of all plastic packaging produced globally have agreed to eliminate plastic waste and pollution at the source. Companies including L’Oreal, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever and Amcor signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment today at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali. The commitment is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment.

Dubbed the “new normal” for plastic packaging, the pledge stipulates that signatories will

  • eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and move from single-use to reuse packaging models;
  • innovate to ensure 100% of plastic packaging can be easily and safely reused, recycled or composted by 2025;
  • circulate the plastic produced by significantly increasing the amounts of plastics reused or recycled and made into new packaging or products.

These targets will be reviewed every 18 months and will grow in ambition over the years, according to a press release from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Businesses that sign the commitment will publish annual data on their progress to help drive momentum and ensure transparency.

Commenting on the initiative, Amcor CEO Ron Delia said, “Plastic packaging is vital for products used by billions of consumers around the globe. It’s highly effective and easy to adapt, so that those products are safe, nutritious and effective. We’re constantly innovating to make plastic packaging even better, including in protecting the environment.”

In January 2018, Amcor became the first global packaging company pledging to develop all its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025, and last month it announced a breakthrough, flexible-plastic film that provides high-barrier protection, can be used in sterilized packaging and is recyclable. In announcing the commitment, Dame Ellen MacArthur characterized it as drawing a “line in the sand, with businesses, governments and others around the world uniting behind a clear vision for what we need to create a circular economy for plastic." This is not the end point, she stressed, but one milestone on a challenging journey. “I encourage all businesses and governments to go further and embark on a race to the top in the creation of a circular economy for plastic. One in which this material never becomes waste or pollution,” she said in a prepared statement.

This initiative and the vision for a circular economy for plastic are supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature and have been endorsed by the World Economic Forum, the Consumer Goods Forum (a CEO-led organization representing some 400 retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries), and 40 universities, institutions and academics. More than 15 financial institutions with in excess of $2.5 trillion in assets under management have also endorsed the Global Commitment and over $200 million has been pledged by five venture capital funds to create a circular economy for plastic, noted the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

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