In June 2018, a number of brands, retailers, and packaging companies committed to using 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging across their global operations by 2025 or earlier.
Among the group are Amcor, Danone, L’Oréal, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever who have signed up to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy, “an ambitious three-year initiative to build momentum towards a plastic system that works”. It brings together key stakeholders to rethink and redesign the future of plastics and bring them in-line with the principles of the circular economy, starting with packaging.
The commitment has also received support from the government of New Zealand who will be working with companies to monitor commitments. A number of New Zealand based businesses have also signed up to the scheme, including New Zealand Post.
Plastics have become an increasingly pressing issue, helped in part by the growing public awareness of ocean plastic. This initiative is thus a bold attempt to build a powerful coalition to tackle the plastics crisis head-on.
Is it possible to re-design sustainable plastics as early as 2025? Given the scale of the challenge, is there a danger companies might focus their efforts on providing recyclable plastic? If so, whose responsibility is it to ensure this plastic is then recycled? What is the role of government in supporting companies to deliver on such commitments?