Coinciding with the launch of Theresa May’s 25 Year Environment Plan, WRAP has announced a new collaborative initiative with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) that aims to help turn the tide on the UK’s growing plastic waste problem.
While still in the development stages, the initiative will build on the principles of The New Plastics Economy. It will see businesses, industry, governments, local authorities, NGOs, media and society as a whole come together to redefine what is possible and create a plastic system that works — a circular economy where plastic is valued and never becomes waste.
As the first step in implementing the New Plastics Economy, the initiative will initially focus on plastic packaging, namely eliminating the use of single-use plastics and ensuring that all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable. WRAP and EMF have also identified the need to improve recycling infrastructure, increase recycled content in plastic packaging to drive demand for recycled material, and engage citizens around recycling plastic waste.
“Creating a circular economy for plastics amounts to a huge opportunity for the economy as well as providing a longer-term benefit for the environment. Achieving it will require close collaboration and significant commitment from industry, government and society at large. We are delighted to work with WRAP to unleash such collaboration here in the UK, as a first national implementation initiative of our global New Plastics Economy initiative,” said Dame Ellen MacArthur.
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“So far, the solutions to plastic waste have been piecemeal,” said Marcus Gover, CEO at WRAP. “I am pleased to be leading this holistic initiative which will transform the UK’s plastics system. Working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we will bring together every ‘body, business and organization’ involved in the life-cycle of plastics to make the move from a throwaway culture to one where resources are used over and over again.”
As in The New Plastics Economy, EMF and WRAP have highlighted the need for stakeholders at all levels — from those producing plastics to those collecting, sorting and recycling it to those using it — to rally around the cause.
Work is now underway to engage all parties, agree on the ambitions and set up the initiative. EMF and WRAP expect to launch the initiative in full in the spring.