Written by: Marielena Bravo
Plastic materials surround us in every aspect of our lives, and are desirable for companies to use because of its durability, water resistance, and light weight, but the pollution surrounding plastic waste is now a pressing environmental concern. If production of plastic continues at the same rate it has, the ocean will have more plastic than fish by 2050.
On October 9th, the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment was signed by 290+ organizations, representing 20% of the global plastic packaging producers. This initiative to eliminate plastic waste and pollution at source was signed by many of the worlds largest brands, retailers, NGOs and even the Chilean and British governments. Led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with UN Environment, some of the many brands that have signed the agreement include L’Oreal, H&M Group, The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Unilever (Hellmann’s, Lipton, Magnum, Dove, etc.), Burberry, Stella McCartney, Inditex (Zara), and Target.
“This is just one step on what will be a challenging journey, but one which can lead to huge benefits for society, the economy and the environment. 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.”
– Dame Ellen MacArthur
Three main targets will be reviewed every 18 months for each brand in order to create ‘a new normal’ for plastic packaging. Companies who signed the commitment will publish annual data on their progress. As listed on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website, the main targets include to:
- 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.
“There is no single brand that can tackle this industry-wide challenge on its own. We must act as one voice and the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment is a big step in the right direction, as it will align business and governments on a common agenda and timeframe.”
-Cecilia Brännsten, environmental sustainability manager, H&M
With more than $200 million pledged by venture capital funds in support, the creation of a circular economy for plastic is very possible in the near future. With this news, new hope arises for the solution to cleaning the world’s oceans, one less plastic bottle at a time.
Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation (Oct 29, 2018) ‘A line in the sand’ – Ellen MacArthur Foundation launches New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to eliminate plastic waste at source