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South Africa joins Plastics Pact network

A South African Plastics Pact was launched on Thursday (30 January) in Cape Town, with support from the UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

South Africa has joined the Plastics Pact network

Modelled closely on the UK Plastic Pact, the South African Plastics Pact comes as the latest move in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact global network, joining the UK, France, Chile and The Netherlands in committing to driving a circular economy for plastic.

Founding members of the South African Plastics Pact include Coca-Cola Africa, Danone, SPAR and Unilever, who have all committed to achieving four targets by 2025:

  • Take action on problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models
  • 100 per cent of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • 70 per cent of plastic packaging effectively recycled
  • 30 per cent average recycled content across all plastic packaging

Working with local partners WWF-SA and the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO), the Pact aims to boost job creation in the South African plastics collection and recycling sector and create new opportunities in product design and reuse business models.

WRAP, which has played a key role in the development of the Pact, has received funding support from the Government of Japan through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the framework of the One-Planet Network’s Sustainable Lifestyles and Education Programme, and the Commonwealth Litter programme, funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), along with logistical support from the British High Commission in Pretoria.

Peter Skelton, who has led on the project for WRAP, commented: “When we launched the UK Plastics Pact in 2018, we hoped it would inspire other countries to adopt the same ambitious approach. So we are delighted to have been part of the development of the South African Plastics Pact.

“We have been able to share the experience with our partners in South Africa, always ensuring the Pact is designed for the local context. This is a great example of what can be achieved through rich collaboration and shared learning and we look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues in South Africa on this vital piece of work towards a world free of plastic waste.”

UK Plastics Pact

Since its launch in April 2018, the UK Plastics Pact has made significant progress towards its 2025 goals, with Pact members over halfway towards all their packaging being recyclable and a third of the way towards using an average of 30 per cent recycled content in their packaging.  

In June 2019, WRAP published a list of eight single-use plastic items to be eliminated by the end of 2020, including plastic cutlery, cotton buds and straws, with a further 19 items currently under investigation.

Members of the UK Pact are also taking action on non-recyclable black plastic, with Morrisons and Co-op removing black plastic from all of their own-brand food and drink packaging.

You can find more information on the WRAP website

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