More than 275 brands, retailers, recycling companies, governments and NGOs have committed to the fight against plastic waste and signed the 'New Plastics Economy Global Commitment' of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the United Nations.
Plastic must not become waste
The agreement is important because the signatories make up 20 % of all plastic packaging manufacturers and together represent the entire supply chain. The commitment, which was announced at the 'Our Oceans' conference in Bali, is one of the most important ever when it comes to plastic waste.
The key component of the agreement is the commitment to stop plastic waste by aiming for a circular approach. That means that the signatories have decided that plastic must never become waste. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation intends to realise that with the help of six cornerstones:
- "elimination of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through new design, innovation, and new delivery models
- reuse models are applied where relevant, reducing the need for single-use packaging
- all plastic packaging is 100 % re-usable, recyclable, or compostable
- all plastic packaging is re-used, recycled or composted in practice
- the use of plastic is fully decoupled from finite resources
- all plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals, and the health, safety, and rights of all people involved are respected."
From Burberry to Black & Decker
Plastic waste is a hot issue: after the EU's recent commitments as well as those of various companies and national governments, this worldwide agreement reaches a whole new series of international companies. The signatories include Burberry, Carrefour, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Diageo, H&M, Henkel, L'Oréal, Marks & Spencers, Mars, Nestlé, Philips, SC Johnson (which announced a pop-up store for deposit from plastic bottles last week), Unilever and Walmart. The French and British governments signed it as well.
Ellen MacArthur, who took the initiative for this project, stated in a letter to future signers back in August: "This is the biggest effort ever seen to mobilise a global-scale industrial response, uniting the key actors around the globe behind a common vision for upstream solutions, addressing this pressing issue at its root cause."