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New initiative to transform UK plastics system and tackle plastic pollution

A new and unique collaborative initiative will help turn the tide on the UK’s growing issue of plastic waste.

If all the plastic bottles that are not collected for recycling in the UK each year were placed end to end, they would go around the world 31 times. It’s clear that wide-scale system change is required to make more of our plastic, keep it out of the ocean and in the economy.

The ambitious UK initiative will involve collaborative action and commitment by businesses, industry, governments, local authorities, NGOs, media and society at large, to re-define what is possible and create a plastic system that works – a circular economy where plastic is valued and never becomes waste.

The initial focus will be on plastic packaging and will aim to:
● Eliminate unnecessary and problematic single-use plastic packaging
● Make sure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable
● Significantly increase the collection and recycling of plastic packaging
● Increase recycled content in plastic packaging to drive demand for recycled material
● Impassion and enable citizens to play their part in reducing plastic packaging waste and litter

The holistic initiative is currently in development by sustainable production and consumption experts WRAP, and is a joint partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Revealed today, in The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, it will be the first of a network of national implementation initiatives of the New Plastics Economy in several countries around the world, complementing the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global initiative.

Marcus Gover, CEO at WRAP, said:

“So far the solutions to plastic waste have been piecemeal. I am pleased to be leading this holistic initiative which will transform the UK’s plastics system. Working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we will bring together every ‘body, business and organisation’ involved in the life-cycle of plastics to make the move from a throw away culture to one where resources are used over and over again.”

Dame Ellen MacArthur, said:

“Creating a circular economy for plastics amounts to a huge opportunity for the economy as well as providing a longer-term benefit for the environment. Achieving it will require close collaboration and significant commitment from industry, government, and society at large. We are delighted to work with WRAP to help unleash such collaboration here in the UK, as a first national implementation initiative of our global New Plastics Economy initiative.”

For plastic to become valued and never become waste it’s imperative that everybody from those producing it (brands, retailers, food service businesses, packaging suppliers and plastic producers), collecting it (local and city authorities), sorting it and recycling it (waste management and recycling sector), to those using it (citizens) as well as Government, NGOs and media are involved. Everyone in the UK can and should engage.

Work is now underway to engage all parties, agree the ambitions and set up the initiative. More details will be shared in the Spring, when WRAP, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, will officially launch the initiative.

If you’re interested to keep up to date on the initiative, please visit www.wrap.org.uk/collections-and-reprocessing/plastics-initiative and submit your details.

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