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‘Unattainable’: Why companies are struggling to deliver on plastic pollution goals
While businesses and governments have made commendable progress towards sustainable plastic goals, they fall short of 2025 targets.
These groups had pledged to only use sustainable plastics by 2025 in the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment campaign. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation released a progress report on the campaign with details on the findings.
New Plastics Economy progress report from Ellen MacArthur Foundation warns increasing use of recycled plastic is being undermined by lack of investment in supporting infrastructure.
Businesses and governments that have pledged to only use reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging by 2025 are unlikely to deliver on their ambitious targets, according to a sobering new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
The high-profile campaign group today published a progress report for its New Plastics Economy Global Commitment campaign, which since 2018 has seen more than 500 organisations pledge to keep plastics out of the environment. Signatories to the pledge, who include companies that together represent 20 per cent of all plastic packaging, have to commit to ambitious targets for slashing levels of plastic waste by 2025 and undertake public annual reporting.
However, the report warns that while significant progress has been made to curb the use of virgin plastics and boost recycling rates, the continuing use of flexible plastic and under-investment in supporting infrastructure means pledges to only reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging by 2025 “will likely not be met”.
The report does stress that encouraging progress is being made on a number of fronts. For example, over half of business signatories have cut their use of virgin plastics since 2018 and the use of recycled content in plastic packaging has doubled in the past three years. The share of post-consumer recycled content has risen from 4.8 per cent in 2018 to 10.0 per cent in 2021, with the report noting that while it took decades for businesses to hit the five per cent mark, signatories to the Global Commitment doubled it to 10 per cent in just three years.
However, overall use of virgin plastic among the group increased in 2021 back to 2018 levels, while the share of plastic packaging that is reusable decreased slightly to an average of just 1.2 per cent.
James Murray, Business Green, Nov 3, 2022.