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Image: Closed Loop Partners
In the first New Plastics Economy Global Commitment report, major companies publish data on their annual plastic packaging volumes, many for the first time; while Closed Loop Partners’ 2018 Impact Report measures the effect their investments are having on reducing emissions, diverting valuable commodities from landfill and creating jobs.
Details of how brands, governments and other organizations are tackling plastic
pollution around the world have been set out side by side for the first time,
thanks to a new report published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
(EMF)’s New Plastics Economy initiative, in collaboration with UN
Environment. The report follows the October 2018 launch of the New Plastics
which laid out an action plan to stop plastic waste and pollution at the source
through application of circular economy principles.
By providing previously unpublished data and setting out commitments side by
side, this report offers a new level of transparency about today’s plastic
system and efforts to stop plastic waste and pollution.
More than 250 organizations, representing every part of the plastics system,
signed the commitment when it was launched in collaboration in October. Since
then, the number of signatories has risen to more than 350 and now includes
Barilla, Tetra Pak and L’OCCITANE en provence; as well as the
Government of Rwanda, and the cities of São Paulo (Brazil) and
Ljubljana (Slovenia). Financial institutions with over US$4 trillion in
assets under management have endorsed the commitment.
The Global Commitment aims to create ‘a new normal’ for plastic packaging,
with signatories committing to:
Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and move from
single-use to reuse packaging models
Innovate to ensure 100 percent of plastic packaging can be easily and
safely reused, recycled, or composted by 2025
Circulate the plastic produced, by significantly increasing the volumes
of plastic reused or recycled into new packaging
As EMF points out, the decision by more than 30 companies to publicly
disclose their annual plastic packaging volumes in the report is an
important step towards greater transparency, but the Foundation is now
urging all companies that make and use plastics to disclose their plastics
The report shows welcome progress in increasing the amount of recycled
content in plastic packaging, and the phasing out of non-recyclable
materials. The recycled content targets for plastic in packaging jointly
represent 5 million tonnes by 2025.
This is the biggest-ever commitment to use recycled plastics in packaging
and provides clear demand for increased investment in high-quality recycling
and will result in a significant reduction in production of virgin plastics.
However, while improving recycling is crucial, we cannot recycle our way out
of the plastics issues we currently face. Elimination of problematic or
unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation, and new delivery
models is a priority. Reuse
models need to be applied where relevant, reducing the need for single-use
packaging. All of this is an explicit part of the Global Commitment vision,
endorsed by all 350+ signatories.
New Plastics Economy lead Sander Defruyt said: “The targets and action
plans set out in this report are a significant step forward compared with
the pace of change of past decades. However, they are still far from truly matching the scale of the problem,
particularly when it comes to elimination of unnecessary items and
innovation towards reuse models. Ambition levels must continue to rise to
make real strides in addressing global plastic pollution by 2025, and moving
from commitment to action is crucial. Major investments, innovations, and
transformation programmes need to be started now, to realise the impact by
Lisa Svensson, Coordinator of the Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Branch at
UN Environment, said: “UN Environment is delighted to be working with the
Ellen MacArthur Foundation to help turn the tide on plastic pollution.
Within just a few months of the launch of the New Plastics Economy Global
Commitment we have seen important progress. The Foundation's work to create
a circular economy for plastic aligns very well with our Clean Seas
campaign, which has become the biggest global compact addressing marine
National-level efforts to put the Global Commitment’s vision into practice include a growing network of Plastic Pacts. These
collaborations between government, NGOs, and businesses focus on creating
country-specific circular economy solutions to plastics waste. The UK
launched the first Plastics
in April 2018 and the French pact was launched last month. The Chilean
government has announced plans to do the same later this year. All countries
are signatories to the Global Commitment.
As an endorser of the Global Commitment, the World Economic Forum on
Monday (March 11) launched the Global Plastics Action Partnership in
EMF says the New Plastics Economy will publish a further report on signatory
progress in Autumn 2019, and every year following.
Image credit: Closed Loop Partners
Meanwhile, Closed Loop Partners (CLP) — home of the Closed Loop Fund
and Closed Loop Ventures — today released its 2018 impact report. The
fourth annual report comes at a time when CEOs of major consumer goods
companies are recognizing — as seen through burgeoning engagement in
initiatives such as the New Plastics Economy — that the development of
circular supply chains will reduce manufacturing costs and provide consumers
with more sustainable products; and more and more major consumer goods
companies are establishing strategies to that effect.
“Recycling infrastructure has not kept up with the velocity of packaging
innovation,” John Caturano, Senior Sustainability Manager of Packaging
at Nestlé, says in the
report. “Closed Loop Fund is helping companies like Nestlé remedy this with
progressive investments that add more infrastructure in North America, so
our consumers can recycle our packages, and we can use recycled content in
From the beginning, CLP has worked to connect municipalities, companies and
investors in an effort to build stronger relationships and accelerate the
creation of circular supply chains. Along with corporates, mayors of major
municipalities are also recognizing that local recycling and circular
infrastructure are vital for the health and wellbeing of their cities, as
they reduce municipal disposal budgets, generate revenue and drive local
manufacturing and job creation.
At the close of 2018, CLP’s portfolio included 36 investments — 21
investments from the Closed Loop Fund and 15 investments from Closed Loop
Ventures. The Impact Report measures the effect these investments are having
on reducing GHG emissions, diverting valuable commodities from landfill and
back into circular supply chains, and creating jobs. According to the
report, for every dollar invested to date:
$4 of co-investment was generated from private and public sources
$1 economic benefit was generated for communities
300 pounds of recyclables were recovered and returned to a supply chain, and
900 pounds of CO2E GHG emissions were avoided.
In 2018, CLP launched the Center for the Circular Economy (CCE), its
advisory services group. One of CCE’s first initiatives, The NextGen
Consortium — a pre-competitive collaboration among consumer brands
The Coca-Cola Company, Yum! Brands, Wendy’s and Nestlé,
committed to advancing food-service packaging solutions — recently named 12
winning solutions to its NextGen Cup
which could all help eliminate coffee cup waste.
In addition to the Cup Challenge, CLP also partnered with the Sustainable
Packaging Coalition on the Flexpack Recovery Innovation
a solution search for multilayer flexible film packaging, a plastic type not
currently recycled in most markets. At the launch of the Challenge,
Amazon announced a $10 million investment into the Closed Loop Fund, to
support the improvement of recycling infrastructure across the US.
“Amazon is committed to being part of the circular economy, and our
investment in Closed Loop Fund is one way we are working to increase ease
and access of recycling options,” said Terese Kietzer, Amazon’s Senior
Manager of Sustainability Services. “These investments will not only divert
millions of pounds from landfills, but will also help support local
communities and preserve our natural resources. We are proud to support the
Closed Loop Fund’s mission to bring better recycling infrastructure to
millions of households across the country.”
Published Mar 14, 2019 2am EDT / 11pm PDT / 6am GMT / 7am CET