Firms back plan to recycle plastics

9th February 2017


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  • Business & Industry ,
  • Waste ,
  • Natural resources

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IEMA

Business leaders have endorsed a plan to recycle 70% of plastic packaging worldwide, up from 14% now.

More than 40 firms, including The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, Mars and Unilever, have backed a plan to tackle global plastics waste set out in a joint report from the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

New Plastics Economy: catalysing action includes a strategy for the global plastics industry to design better packaging, increase recycling rates and introduce new models for making better use of packaging.

The report found that 20% of plastic packaging could be profitably reused, for example by replacing single-use plastic bags with reusable ones, or by designing innovative packaging based on product refills.

A further 50% could be profitably recycled if improvements were made to packaging design and systems for managing it after use. The remaining 30% would never be recycled, however, and would continue to go to landfill or incineration without fundamental redesign and innovation.

Adrian Griffiths, chief executive at Recycling Technologies, which is also backing the initiative, said: ‘The issue of waste plastic is clearly a growing concern within the industry and the wider public. This report outlines a clear strategy for the industry to provide better recycling rates by turning waste plastic into a resource that can be reused.’

Paul Polman, chief executive at Unilever, welcomed the report for setting out specific actions to capture opportunities for redesign and innovation, reuse and recycling.

‘We urgently need to transform global plastic packaging material flows if we are to continue to reap the benefits of this versatile material,’ he said.


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