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This is how the UK's Plastic Pact will affect you

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Susan Devaney
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Over 40 UK-based companies have pledged to drastically reduce their plastic use in products by 2025. 

In recent months, the topic of plastic waste in the world has been talked about like never before. From scientists accidentally creating a plastic-eating enzyme to the UK government calling for a ban on all plastic straws and cotton buds, the material is quickly becoming unwanted.

Now, efforts to remove the material from our day-to-day lives as much as possible is picking up pace – thanks to the introduction of the UK Plastics Pact. More than 40 UK companies have signed up to a pledge (the first of its kind) committing to making 100% of the plastic packaging they use recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Spearheaded by sustainable charity WRAP, the pact unites 42 household names – such as Coca Cola Europe, Nestle UK, Tesco and Waitrose – across the country in a bid to protect the environment and eliminate “problematic” single-sue plastic. The businesses that have pledged are responsible for 80% of the plastic packaging used in products sold in supermarkets. 

The businesses that have pledged are responsible for 80% of the plastic packaging used in products sold in supermarkets. 

The 57 organisations and companies in the pact have pledged to:

• Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models.

• 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

• 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted.

• 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

And the pledge is set to be carried out in other countries across the world by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, too.

“We are delighted to launch this pioneering national implementation initiative with WRAP in the UK,” MacArthur said. “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. Focusing 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.”

The pact will also delve into ways in which manufacturers can create innovative materials to replace plastic.

“Momentum is gathering around this crucial mission and it is fantastic to see WRAP leading on this world-first pact to reduce plastic pollution,” the minister for clean energy, Claire Perry, commented.

“Last week, we committed £61.4m to boost global research to help Commonwealth countries reduce plastic usage and prevent plastic waste from ending up in our seas. Today’s commitment is another vital step towards achieving a plastic past and looking towards a cleaner future.”

You can find out how to reduce your own plastic waste here.

Images: Unsplash 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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