• M&S is among 42 retailers to have committed to a "first-of-its-kind" Plastics Pact.
  • The UK Plastics Pact aims to transform the plastic packaging system in the UK.
  • Launched by Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the Pact will be replicated in other countries in a bid to form a global movement for change as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy initiative.
The Pact aims to transform the plastic packaging system in the UK and keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean

The Pact aims to transform the plastic packaging system in the UK and keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean

UK retail group Marks & Spencer is among 42 businesses to have signed up to a new first-of-its-kind pact that aims to transform the plastic packaging system in the UK.

Launched last week by UK-based Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the UK Plastics Pact is a unique collaboration that brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste.

WRAP works with governments, businesses and communities to deliver practical solutions to improve resource efficiency. It aims to accelerate the move to a sustainable, resource-efficient economy by re-inventing how we design, produce and sell products; re-thinking how we use and consume products; and re-defining what is possible through re-use and recycling.

Pact members, which also include UK retailers Sainsbury's and Asda, are responsible for over 80% of the plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets, according to WRAP.

They have committed to hit a series of ambitious targets by 2025 which include:

  • Eliminate 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.

The first of its kind in the world, the Pact will work to stimulate innovative new business models in the UK to reduce the total amount of plastic packaging.

It will also help build a stronger recycling system, where companies take more responsibility for their 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. 

WRAP says 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.

In addition, there are also plans for the Pact to be replicated in other countries in a bid to form a global movement for change as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy initiative.