The resources and waste charity WRAP has said that brands have made progress in reducing single-use plastic and increasing recycled content in some products in the first year of the voluntary Plastics Pact.
The Plastics Pact was launched by Environment Secretary Michael Gove in April 2018 – and has more than 120 signatories including retailers, manufacturers and recycling companies.
Its aim is to eliminate “problematic or unnecessary” single-use plastic packaging by 2025, and to ensure 100% of plastic packaging is recyclable.
WRAP emphasised that the first year of the project was about “setting a clear direction of travel for collaborative change.”
In a report setting out some of the achievements from its first year in operation, WRAP says that the pact has seen steps by Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons, which are all trialling the removal of plastic packaging across fresh produce lines as well as some work to remove black plastic packaging from products.
Drinks brand Ribena is among the other brands to have made commitments to tackle plastic waste, and is planning to redesign its 500ml PET plastic bottles to aid recyclability.
A part of this will be the “reduction of the full printed sleeves” that cover some of the bottles, the drink’s manufacturer Lucozade Ribena Suntory says.
Full-bottle shrink sleeve labels can interfere with sortation equipment used in recycling and can contaminate recycled PET plastics. Labels with coverage of less than 60% made of PE, PP or OPP are seen as being better for recycling than fully-covered bottles.
Commenting on the first year since the pact’s inception, WRAP’s Marcus Gover, said:
“Moving forward there will be tough decisions to make, new innovations to foster, and investment to be made – all at great pace and with an urgency that reflects the scale of the problem we are tackling.
“Our members have shown they are up for the challenge and we have great momentum to propel us forward. I’m convinced we are on the way to transforming forever the way we make, use and dispose of plastic.”