WRAP – UK’s biggest businesses have cut unnecessary plastic packaging by 40%
8th December 2020 | Commercial Energy
Businesses signed up to WRAP’s UK Plastics Pact, which is supported by the likes of Unilever, Nestle and PepsiCo, collectively produced 40% fewer non-recyclable and unnecessary pieces of plastic packaging this year than in 2018. The progress has been revealed in WRAP’s second annual progress report on the Pact, published 8 December. More than 150 organisations have signed up to the Pact to date and the report details data from all business members disclosing data to WRAP.
Under the pact, signatories make four main commitments for 2025: eliminating unnecessary single-use packaging through redesign: making all plastic packaging 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable: achieving recycling and composting rates of 70% or more for packaging, and including 30% recycled content across all packaging. The report reveals that particularly strong progress has been made towards the first commitments, around reduction. Pact signatories collectively produced 40% fewer packaging items considered unnecessary or hard-to-recycle to 2019 than in2018. In terms of tonnage, the reduction is around 30%.
WRAP classes plastic cutlery, plates and bowls, straws, cotton buds and drinks stirrers in this category, along with polystyrene, PVC and controversial oxo-degradable plastics. Despite strong progress overall, the body has noted specific challenges for pharmaceutical firms trying to phase out PVS and providers of dairy products and white goods trying to eliminate polystyrene. Like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, it has also tracked a trend towards lighter-weight packaging and alternative materials taking priority over reusable containers. With this in mind, WRAP will publish updated advise on eliminating problem plastics early next year. It will also encourage the Government to accelerate work to implement the Resources and Waste Strategy, which has stalled due to Covid-19.
Progress towards the Pact’s second target, covering recyclability, was not so promising. Some 64% of the plastic packaging placed on the UK market by Pact signatories was classed as widely recycled – the same proportion year-on-year.
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