More than 40 business and government leaders have announced their support for the action plan laid out in a new report, The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing Action, which was launched by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation at Davos on 16 January.
The report presents a pathway to increasing global recycling rates for plastic packaging from where it stands today – at just 14% – to 70%.It concludes that as much as 20% of plastic packaging could be profitably re-used and 50% of it could be profitably recycled if improvements are made to design and after-use systems. The remaining 30% (by weight), equivalent to 10 billion garbage bags per year, is currently by design destined for landfill or incineration, and requires fundamental redesign and innovation, if it is to be recycled.
Also said to be forthcoming from the report is a clear transition strategy for the industry to design better packaging, increase recycling rates and introduce new models for making better use of packaging, according to UK plastic waste recycling firm Recycling Technologies. The action plan was produced as part of the New Plastics Economy initiative, which was launched in May 2016.
Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder, Ellen MacArthur Foundation commented: “Acting on the findings of the report published just a year ago, here in Davos, the New Plastics Economy initiative has attracted widespread support and provides a clear plan for redesigning the global plastics system. We now see strong initial momentum and alignment around the direction to take, paving the way for concerted action.”
The focus of the New Plastics Economy over the next year will be on bringing about wide scale innovation.
The initiative will launch two global innovation challenges to kick-start the redesign of materials and packaging formats, and begin building a set of global common standards for packaging design, concentrating initially on the most impactful changes. It will also improve recycling systems by delivering collaborative projects between participant companies and cities.