UK Plastic Pact continues work towards 2025 goals

WRAP has published its second annual report for the UK Plastics Pact, revealing progress towards the Pact’s long-term targets, including a reduction in the amount of plastic packaging being used.

Plastic bales for recyclingFollowing on from last year's results, UK Plastics Pact members have cut use of unnecessary plastic by 40 per cent and increased plastic recycling by 107,000 tonnes.

CEO of WRAP Marcus Gover said: “It’s great to see UK Plastics Pact members cutting unnecessary plastic packaging by 40 per cent and increasing recycling to 50 per cent in just one year.” 

“This was exactly why we set up the Pact - to tackle problematic plastic, increase reuse and recycling, and stop plastic polluting the environment.”

Members of the UK Plastics Pact are working towards four separate targets, which they have committed to achieving by 2025.

Current members of the Pact include Asda, Coca-Cola, Heinz, PepsiCo, Tesco and Unilever.

2019 data and future targets

The first target is to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative delivery models.

The 2019 Plastic Pact data shows a 40 per cent reduction in the sale of such items from 2018.

However, it highlights polystyrene as an ongoing issue and calls for Pact members to proactively remove polystyrene from their products.

The second target is to make 100 per cent of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

64 per cent of plastic packaging currently placed on the market by Pact members is recyclable, down from 65 per cent last year.

WRAP’s latest report urges members to improve this significantly by ensuring that flexible packaging is widely recyclable in the UK.

The third target aims to achieve a national recycling rate of 70 per cent for plastic packaging.

The amount of plastic packaging that is being recycled increased from 44 per cent in 2018 to 50 per cent in 2019.

The report also highlights that more people than ever before are recycling, with WRAP’s latest citizen research showing that 87 per cent of UK households regularly recycle.

The Pact’s final target is to achieve an average of 30 per cent recycled content across all plastic packaging.

The average recycled content is now 13 per cent, having risen from 9 per cent in 2018.

Gover concluded: “I am looking forward to UK Plastics Pact members eliminating more unnecessary plastic and further increasing the recyclability of packaging in 2021. Developing solutions to overcome the challenges of recycling flexible plastic packaging will be a particular priority.

“Collection points for plastic bags and films at supermarkets will be an important step in the right direction, but we need all supermarkets to collect all plastic films to make this work.”

You can read the full annual report on the WRAP website.