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Unilever joins as a founding member of The UK Plastics Pact


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Unilever has today announced that it has become a founding member of The UK Plastics Pact, an ambitious multi-stakeholder initiative, led by WRAP, which aims to transform the plastic packaging system in the UK and keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean.

The UK Plastics Pact logo

This unique collaboration brings together the entire plastics packaging value chain including businesses, manufacturers, retailers, and plastic reprocessors, as well as government and NGOs, to tackle plastic waste. Led by WRAP, the sustainability experts, it is the first initiative of its kind in the world and it will be replicated in other countries to form a powerful global movement for change as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative.

As founding member, Unilever supported WRAP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in the development of a series of ambitious 2025 targets, which all members will work towards, this includes:

  • Eliminating problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models.
  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted.
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

These ambitious targets support Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan and its broader commitment, announced last year, to increase the use of recycled plastic content in packaging1 and to ensure 100% of its plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Working with a wide range of experts to tackle waste, Unilever has also been a Global Partner to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation since 2014.

Commenting on the announcement Sebastian Munden, General Manager for Unilever UK and Ireland said: “We are proud to be a founding member of the UK Plastics Pact. We believe that businesses like Unilever can play a vital role in transitioning to a circular economy, making sure as much plastic as possible is re-used or recycled, as well as innovating to find alternative solutions.

This is something we have been working on for a while, and we know it’s an issue the people who use and love our brands care about deeply, so we look forward to creating solutions with the consumer goods and other industries, as well as government, to reach the ambitious targets set out today.”

WRAP CEO, Marcus Gover, said: “Together, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink and reshape the future of plastic so that we retain its value, and curtail the damage plastic waste wreaks on our planet. This requires a wholescale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act. That is what makes the UK Plastics Pact unique. It unites everybody, business and organisation with a will to act on plastic pollution. We will never have a better time to act, and together we can.”

The Pact will stimulate innovative new business models to reduce the total amount of plastic packaging. It will also help build a stronger recycling system, where we take more responsibility for our own waste and ensure plastic packaging can be effectively recycled and made into new products and packaging and, with the support of governments, ensure consistent UK recycling is met.

The immediate focus will be on identifying the priority projects that will deliver greatest impacts in the short and long term, such as overcoming barriers to increasing the amount of recycled content used in new packaging, developing reusable packaging and working with partners to overcome the issue of un-recyclable black plastic.

1To increase the use of recycled plastic content in packaging to 25% of the total resin footprint.

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