November 18, 2018

Hundreds of organizations pledge to eliminate plastic waste

01 November 2018, 02:04 | Edward Lowe

Big brands including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle pledge to turn tide on global plastic waste

Major companies responsible for a FIFTH of the world's plastic packaging pledge to end waste

The Commitment pledges to create "a new normal" for plastic packaging by eliminating problematic or unnecessary packaging and a move from single-use to reuse packaging models.

The companies who have signed up include worldwide giants such as Coca-Cola, Danone, H & M, Unilever, Mars and L'Oreal, to name just a few.

Big brands from Coke to Kellogg yesterday pledged to cut all plastic waste from their operations in what the United Nations called the most ambitious effort yet to fight plastic pollution.

New Zealand revealed this week that it signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment declaration in an effort to work with worldwide partners to cut down on plastics and become a "circular economy".

Over the past four years, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has been rallying businesses and governments behind the positive vision of a circular economy for plastics.

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"Ocean plastic is one of the most visible and disturbing examples of a plastic pollution crisis", Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment, said in the statement from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Reportedly, 250 organizations made the pledge, including numerous world's biggest packaging producers, retailers, leading consumer brands and recyclers, as well as governments and non-governmental organizations.

This is just one step on what will be a challenging journey, but one that can lead to huge benefits for society, the economy and the environment.

"I encourage all businesses and governments to go further and embark on a race to the top in the creation of a circular economy for plastic".

PepsiCo said it had made a number of pledges in a bid to "build a PepsiCo where plastics need never become waste". Signatories include companies representing 20 percent of all plastic packaging produced globally, as well as governments, NGOs, universities, industry associations, investors and other organizations.

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An estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic had been produced since the early 1950s, with 60% of it ending up in landfills or the natural environment. The AQUA brand also pledged to recover more plastic than it uses in Indonesia, including through interception of marine littering.

Targets will be reviewed every 18 months and businesses will publish annual data on their progress to ensure transparency and momentum, organisers said. "They can simply continue with business as usual after signing the commitment", Greenpeace said in a news release.

"Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world", said United Kingdom environment secretary Michael Gove.

"Whilst plastic pollution has grasped the public's attention recently, it is vital that we work together to come up with long-term solutions that will not have any unintended negative impact on the environment".

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation started its research on plastic pollution four years ago. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

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