Report Finds Early Progress on New Plastics Economy Commitments
Photo by Hermes Rivera
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The report shares actions from nearly 200 businesses and governments to eliminate plastic packaging and increase the use of recycled plastic in packaging by at least five-fold by 2025.

Approximately 70% of relevant signatories are eliminating single-use plastic bags and straws and carbon black plastics.

The report showcases efforts by the Governments of Chile, Rwanda and the UK and the cities of Austin and Sao Paulo to put in place policy measures and make commitments to phase out problematic packaging or products.

24 October 2019: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published a review of progress on global efforts to prevent plastic pollution and move towards a circular economy for plastics. The report finds early signs of progress, noting that many business and government signatories have made initial progress towards their targets and are laying a foundation to accelerate and scale action.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UNEP released the ‘New Plastics Economy Global Commitment: 2019 Progress Report’ 12 months after the Commitment’s launch. Since October 2018, over 400 organizations have committed to eliminate “problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging” and to implement innovate actions to ensure all plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable.

The report shares actions from nearly 200 businesses and governments to eliminate plastic packaging and increase the use of recycled plastic in packaging by at least five-fold by 2025. On average, 55% of business signatories’ plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable today. Through the Global Commitment, signatories have committed to increase to 100% by 2025. Mars, Inc., said it will reduce plastic use by 25% by 2025. PepsiCo aims to reduce its use of virgin plastic in its beverage business by 20% by 2025. Unilever will reduce its use of virgin plastic in packaging by 50%, eliminating over 100,000 tonnes by 2025.

The report also shares how businesses and governments are eliminating the most commonly identified problematic plastic items. Approximately 70% of relevant signatories are eliminating single-use plastic bags and straws and carbon black plastics. Approximately 80% of relevant signatories are eliminating PVC from their packaging.

Currently, less than three percent of plastic packaging among signatories is reusable, something the Global Commitment aims to change. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that replacing 20% of single-use plastic packaging with reusable alternatives “offers an opportunity worth at least US$10 billion.” Forty-three signatory companies are piloting reuse schemes, including Mars, Inc., L’Occitane en Provence, RePack and Unilever. The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCom Danone, Amcro and Bio D are among those who are scaling reuse models. Loop, a shopping platform by TerraCycle, launched a pilot programme that provides collection logistics systems for reusable packaging in France and the US. Some of the world’s largest consumer goods companies and retailers are participating in the programme, including 10 Global Commitment signatories. Government signatories are also supporting efforts to accelerate reuse, through public awareness campaigns and extended producer responsibility legislation.

The report further emphasizes that companies can reduce their overall plastic packaging use through product and supply chain redesign and innovation, while also creating new economic opportunities. Ahold Delhaize introduced a dry-misting technology to keep fruit and vegetables fresh without the need for plastic packaging. Danone launched a new AQUA water bottle that incorporates its logo into the bottle shape in Indonesia, eliminating label use.

The report showcases efforts by the Governments of Chile, Rwanda and the UK and the cities of Austin and Sao Paulo to put in place policy measures and make commitments to phase out problematic packaging or products. The Government of the UK is mobilizing approximately GBP 3 billion to improve local collection and recycling infrastructure and promote packing innovation through public-private finance initiatives. The city of Austin, Texas, is providing rebates to businesses that replace single-use plastic bags with paper or reusable bags through its Zero Waste Business Rebate.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UNEP call on additional businesses and government to sign the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. They urge increased action to tackle plastic pollution and move towards a pollution-free planet. They will publish a progress report on the Global Commitment annually through 2025.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UNEP launched the report at the 2019 Our Oceans Conference, which aims to mobilize commitments in support of a healthy ocean. [UNEP Press Release] [New Plastics Economy Press Release]


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