On the same day that UK Prime Minister Theresa May spoke of the ‘environmental scourge’ of plastic waste while launching the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (11 January), the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced a new initiative in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) aiming to tackle plastic pollution while transforming the UK plastics system.
The initiative is still in development but looks to build on concepts in the EMF’s 2016 report, ‘The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics’, in which it was revealed that without intervention the world’s oceans could to hold more plastic than fish by 2050.
By applying circular economy principles to global plastic packaging flows, the report envisioned a ‘New Plastics Economy’ which would prioritise and reward the reuse and recycling of packaging materials, and reduce negative outcomes such as the large-scale leakage of plastic into our seas.
The initiative announced today will be the first step towards implementation of the New Plastics Economy, WRAP and the EMF have announced: ‘a circular economy where plastic is valued and never becomes waste’. The partnership has identified five ambitious aims: eliminate unnecessary and problematic single-use plastic packaging; make sure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable; significantly increase the collection and recycling of plastic packaging; increase recycled content in plastic packaging to drive demand for recycled material; and impassion and enable citizens to play their part in reducing plastic packaging waste and litter.