Materials

EMF’s New Plastics Economy gets £500k donation

EMF’s New Plastics Economy gets £500k donationThe Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) has been awarded £500,000 by the People’s Postcode Lottery to support its work in hastening a ‘New Plastics Economy’.

The donation, which comes from the lottery’s Dream Fund, will support the mobilisation of the foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative. The initiative is being established to implement the recommendations of ‘The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics’ report, by the EMF, the World Economic Forum and American consultancy McKinsey & Company, which was released in Davos on 19 January.

The 118-page report demonstrates the size of the plastics waste challenge the world faces, estimating that by 2050 the world’s oceans will contain more plastics than fish by weight. Additionally, by the same year, the global plastics industry will consume 20 per cent of total oil production and account for 15 per cent of the annual carbon budget.

The report advocates a vision of a closed-loop global plastics economy and suggests steps that could be taken to bring about the systemic shift needed to make the vision a reality. It criticises current measures to address plastic waste, where only two per cent of plastics are manufactured through closed-loop recycling and 98 per cent of production uses virgin feedstock, and aims to tackle issues ‘at their root cause’.

The EMF says that the initiative is ‘timely’ given the growing appreciation of the circular economy among leaders and policymakers, as demonstrated by a recent report by the European Environment Agency.

The award was announced on 28 January at the People’s Postcode Lottery annual charity gala event in Edinburgh, which was attended by EMF founder Ellen MacArthur and Chief Executive Andrew Morlet.

The New Plastics Economy project, in collaboration with its scientific research partner the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, believes that the new support will help them ‘lead the way for a larger global effort that will ultimately lead towards a world where plastics never become waste’.

Vision into a reality

Ellen MacArthur said: “The New Plastic Economy report gives an extensive overview of today’s plastics economy and its challenges, but perhaps more importantly provides the vision for a new system in which plastics never become waste.

“We are delighted that…we are able to count on the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery, which will enable us to bring together the capabilities we need to turn this vision into a reality.”

The full ‘The New Plastics Economy’ report can be downloaded from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website.

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