Keeping plastics in the economy and out of the environment

The ambitious UK Plastics Pact announced on 26 April, brings renewed energy to the campaign for change. Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado, Marks & Spencer, Unilever UK and Procter & Gamble UK are signatories. It’s a business-led collaboration working with local authorities, government, NGOs and members of the public and supported by the Ellen MacArthur foundation and the not-for-profit sustainability body WRAP.

Unnecessary packaging will be removed from shelves by 2025; packaging standards will change; the design of products will change; all plastic packaging will be recycled, composted or used again; and consumers will be allowed to bring in their own containers and bags. The aim is a circular system that keeps plastics in the economy and out of the natural environment.

There is balance and agreement in the debate. Plastic is a valuable and useful packaging material and will continue to play its part where there is no sustainable substitute.

So expect to see innovation in packaging and in the equipment and processes used to package food; look out for deposit return schemes, and for aisles in your supermarket that are plastics free.

As engineering and automation specialists operating in the UK food and pharma manufacturing industry, we welcome this step towards sustainability and will be working with our clients to innovate to meet the ambitious 2025 targets.

This ‘Acting on Plastic’ blog from the M&S website, loaded on 26 April, is a strong statement of intent:

So when Green Peace now tells big companies to ‘do something’ it is pushing at an open door. Last October’s Blue Planet II series was a tipping point. Big companies want to do the right thing. Consumers want to do something that will make a difference. The timing is perfect.