Businesses in the retail and manufacturing sector have come together to launch a Plastics Pact with the aim of reducing the number of polymers used in packaging and to improve recycling of plastics.
The development, organised by the WRAP resource charity, comes in the wake of concerns over plastics use from plastics being found in the sea through to street littering.
Addressing representatives of 40 businesses who have signed up to the Pact, Dame Ellen MacArthur founder of the foundation which bears her name, said she would like to “thank the UK government for taking a global and national lead on this”. She said: “Effectively we use materials in a linear way, we take materials out of the ground, use it and throw it away. Plastic packaging is one of the most linear materials we use.
“Even if we collect most of that packaging it is not designed to be recycled. So we started to look at solution, the goal is a Circular Economy with materials restorative by design.”
Secretary of state for the environment, Michael Gove also addressed the audience and said that “when we throw something away, the place that that rubbish goes is our home – our planet our environment. When we contemplate the way we have produced, relied on used and carelessly thrown away plastic, we need to think that it is catastrophic. As Dame Ellen has said, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. It will change the balance of the health of the oceans and seas on which this world depends… and all of you have volunteered to help act to tackle this within the Pact.”
Now WRAP is to organise a series of meetings to map a way forward, with one of the aims being to work out what are “good” plastics. One material, PVC, is likely to be targeted with the potential for it to be removed from a number of products.