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The UK Plastics Pact launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WRAP

April 26, 2018

Today, with the support of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, WRAP launches The UK Plastics Pact. This unique platform brings together businesses, governments, innovators, NGOs, and citizens on a national level to rally behind ambitious targets and build a plastics system that works.

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The current plastics crisis is a global problem that affects us all. This is why a global solution is needed, with unprecedented collaboration and innovation. To help drive the momentum towards that solution, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), together with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is launching The UK Plastics Pact, supported by DEFRA (Department for Food and Rural Affairs).

More than 40 businesses, including major food, drink and non-food brands, manufacturers and retailers right through to plastic reprocessors and packaging suppliers, have made their commitment to The UK Plastics Pact.

The UK Plastics Pact is part of an international initiative, the Plastics Pact. As part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy initiative, the Plastics Pact aims to drive collaboration within countries and regions to achieve the shared vision of a circular economy for plastics, where plastics never end up as waste.

Each Plastics Pact will bring together local businesses, policy-makers, NGOs, and other stakeholders, to set ambitious, time-bound targets, to eliminate unnecessary and problematic single-use plastic packaging, and redesign all plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable. Each pact will also increase the collection and recycling of plastic packaging, as well as the recycled content used in plastic packaging.

A second pact is being developed in Chile in collaboration with local B Corp, TriCiclos, and other countries are set to follow. The organisations involved in each pact will come together to form a Plastics Pact network that will share knowledge and best practices, further accelerating the transition towards new plastics economy where plastics never become waste.

We are delighted to launch this pioneering national implementation initiative with WRAP in the UK. This bold new pact will bring together businesses, policymakers, and the public to create a circular economy for plastics that tackles the causes of plastics waste and pollution, not just the symptoms. Focussing 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 finding global solutions to what is a global problem

- Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

WRAP CEO, Marcus Gover, said: “Together, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink and reshape the future of plastic so that we retain its value, and curtail the damage plastic waste wreaks on our planet. This requires a wholescale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act. That is what makes the UK Plastics Pact unique. It unites every body, business and organisation with a will to act on plastic pollution. We will never have a better time to act, and together we can.”

UK Government Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said: “Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realised 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.”

Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Hannah Blythyn, said: “We welcome businesses taking a proactive approach to tackling plastic pollution, which is a step towards achieving our target of Wales becoming a zero-waste nation by 2050. In Wales, we will shortly be publishing our research into extending producer responsibility for food and drink packaging waste, while exploring options such as a UK-wide deposit return scheme.”

Zero Waste Scotland Chief Executive, Iain Gulland, said: “We welcome the strong commitment shown by these leading businesses and representative bodies to tackle the issues associated with single-use plastics. Scotland is already leading the way with action on cotton buds, straws, microbeads and plastic packaging, including being the first part of the UK to commit to a deposit return scheme, which we are currently designing for the Scottish Government. We look forward to working with those signed up to the Plastic Pact to achieve our ambitions for cleaner seas, streets and countryside and for a more circular economy.”