WRAP launches new campaign to combat public plastics confusion

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has launched a new public-facing campaign to provide citizens with the latest information on plastic packaging to allow them to make informed decisions about its use.

The new campaign, entitled ‘Clear on Plastics’, launched today (2 March) will seek to explain the role of plastic packaging in protecting products and offer a balanced presentation of the benefits and drawbacks of alternative materials, while offering citizens advice on how to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging consumption.

Clear on Plastics will be social media-led with influencer content and the support of UK Plastics Pact members, including local authorities amplifying its reach.

WRAP launches new campaign to combat public plastics confusionThe campaign includes a website that answers questions such as ‘Why can’t we just ban all plastic packaging?’, ‘Why can’t we replace plastic with other materials such as glass or paper?’ and ‘Is recycling just an excuse to carry on producing more plastic?’ in response to consumer confusion over plastic packaging.

Recent times have seen an explosion of anti-plastic sentiment among the public, motivated by images on popular TV shows such as Blue Planet II showing the impact of plastic packaging on the environment.

Public antipathy towards plastics has seen companies switch to alternative materials for single-use products, though research from environmental think tank Green Alliance has shown that plastic alternatives such as aluminum or glass are still damaging to the environment if used in a single-use context, while consumers have expressed frustration at recycling information on plastic packaging.

The Clear on Plastics website also addresses compostable and biodegradable plastics, following on from the publication of WRAP’s guidance on compostable packaging at the start of February.

WRAP’s UK Plastics Pact, which was launched in April 2018, is an industry initiative that aims to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic items and increase the recyclability and recycling of plastic packaging.

Plastics Pact members, including major retailers and brands such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Coca-Cola, have made significant progress towards their 2025 goals, with members more than 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.

Commenting on the campaign, Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP UK, said: “When we set up The UK Plastics Pact we committed to uniting an entire supply chain with a common goal to keeping plastics in the economy and out of the environment. We also committed to engaging with citizens, who are concerned about the environment and want to understand how they can play their part. But we know that navigating the issues around this complex material can be tricky.

“We’ve listened to the most common areas for confusion and have designed Clear on Plastics to address those, so that citizens are empowered to make their own informed decisions when it comes to plastics.”

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