What is the UK Plastics PACT?

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The UK Plastics Pact is a  collaborative initiative created by the UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) organisation.

The initiative aims to create a circular economy for plastics by bringing together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain to work with UK governments and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to tackle the problems associated with plastic waste.

The UK Plastics Pact intends to encourage innovative new business models and product designs to reduce the total amount of plastic waste that we generate as a nation. Taking more responsibility for waste at all levels including retailers, users, manufacturers, government etc. Designing packaging that can be recycled and creating the infrastructure to do so. Thus ensuring UK recycling targets are met consistently.

The initial focus of the PACT is to identify priorities, increasing the amount of recycled content used in new packaging, developing re-usable packaging and overcoming the issue of hard to recycle black plastic packaging.

Why Is UK Plastics PACT Needed?

We have all seen the images and heard the news about plastics in the Ocean (if you haven’t where have you been). Our throwaway culture is literally killing the planet.

The current linear plastics economy of taking resources, making products and then disposing of them, has to change. We desperately need a circular economy where nothing becomes waste. Value is not destroyed by burning. We capture the value of plastics (and other materials) and keep them in the system and not in the Oceans.

Plastics have an important role to play, particularly in protecting our food. However, current plastic packaging designs are failing. Why?

  • Not all packaging is designed to be easily recycled (if at all)
  • Consumers are confused about what they can and cannot recycle.
  • Inconsistency in household recycling provision – (eg. 1 in 4 UK local authorities do not collect pots, tubs and trays)
  • Plastics are entering the natural environment – approx. 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK alone.
  • We are overly reliant on export markets for recycling our plastics (67% as of 2018)
  • Packaging legislation does not drive a system where plastics never become waste.

The UK Plastics Pact will generate a fundamental change in the way we design, produce, use, re-use, dispose and reprocess plastics.

What Does the PACT Want to Achieve?

Eventually a true Circular Economy where no plastics ever become waste. That is a big ask BUT we have to start somewhere. So the UK Plastics PACT and it’s collaborators have set out some achievable targets to be met by 2025.

  1. Eliminate ALL problematic or or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through re-design, innovation or alternative methods of product delivery.
  2. 100% of plastic packaging to be reuseable, recyclable or compostable.
  3. 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted.
  4. 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

To see progress to date why not download WRAPs “Roadmap to 2025

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