Amsterdam, 15 November 2018 – Together with the United Nations Environment, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation recently launched The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. Over 250 companies, governments, and NGOs signed this initiative. Those who signed committed to three actions:
- to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging;
- to innovate to ensure 100% of plastic packaging can be reused, recycled or composed;
- to produce plastic suitable for the circular economy and keep it out of the environment.
In 2016, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation presented an influential report with a list of actions. The report, The New Plastics Economy, has been written in cooperation with a large number of companies and organisations. The first point of action in The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment is new compared to the previous report. Now, for the first time, the elimination of plastic is emphasized. The elimination of, for example, not essential plastic items, such as plastic straws, cutlery, and unnecessary packaging. In an article publicizing the launch of the commitment Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of this organisation, emphasizes this new direction: “We cannot recycle and clean our way out of this crisis ―we must move upstream to the source of the flow”.
Important global players have committed to The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which is crucial, as they can really create the change. Unilever, Danone, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are even core partners of this initiative. However, it all depends on how these companies will actually implement the “elimination of problematic packaging”. Because exactly these multinationals are mainly responsible for the Plastic Soup crisis and have yet not undertaken significant steps to solve this problem.
We publicised an article last week on recent research of Greenpeace, which showed that the plans these eleven multinationals proposed allow for an unlimited growth of single use plastic. And they offer no real solution to put a stop to the plastic soup problem. Greenpeace calls the multinationals out on their false promises. These companies have focussed exclusively on the second and third point (innovate and circulate) and not on the first point (eliminate). This gives multinationals the opportunity to continue the indefinite use of plastic.
The Break Free From Plastic (BFFP), a global movement joined by the Plastic Soup Foundation and the more than other 1400 NGOs, also demands real leadership of multinationals. On the Indonesian island Bali during the Our Ocean Conference in October, BFFP presented a challenge for the multinationals to drastically reduce plastic waste. The necessary steps according to BFFP, which are not mentioned in The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, are:
- a drastic reduction of all single use packaging
- investments in products that can be refilled and the facilitation of the necessary logistics
- the rejection of fake solutions that enable the continued use of plastics without limitations.
Photo: Core partners New Plastics Economy Global Commitment
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