Launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2017, this new research presents three strategies to increase reuse and recycling of plastic packaging to 70%, from today’s recycling rate of just 14%.
The report provides a clear action plan, endorsed by over 40 industry leaders, for the global plastics industry to design better packaging, increase recycling rates, and introduce new models for making better use of packaging.
Plastics have become an integral part of our global economy. Due to their functional properties and low cost, these versatile materials have seen their production increase twenty-fold over the past half-century. Despite their indisputable benefits, plastics have significant economic and environmental drawbacks. These negative impacts are sources of concern for business and government, who are recognising the need to rethink the global plastic system.
In January 2016, The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics report by the World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Co. made transparent for the first time global plastic material flows and their economics. The study found that globally only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling, and by 2050 oceans could contain more plastics than fish (by weight). Providing a vision for a more effective system based on circular economy principles, the report spurred the creation of an ambitious New Plastics Economy initiative, bringing together leading businesses, philanthropists and policymakers to make this vision a reality, and a new report that outlines a set of concrete actions: The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing action.
Launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2017, this new research sets out three strategies which will lead to the rate of reuse and recycling of 70% of plastic packaging increasing from today’s recycling rate of just 14%:
- Fundamental redesign and innovation is required for small format plastic packaging (sachets, tear-offs, lids, sweet wrappers etc.) that represent 30% of the market by weight and that often escape collection systems, ending up in the environment
- Reuse could be economically attractive for at least 20% of plastic packaging, for example by replacing single-use plastic bags with re-usable alternatives
- Recycling represents an important economic opportunity for 50% of plastic packaging if improvements are made both to the design of plastic packaging and to the systems for managing it after use.
Core Partners in the New Plastics Economy initiative include Amcor, The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, MARS, Novamont, Unilever, and Veolia. Wendy Schmidt, through The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation, is the Lead Philanthropic Partner of the New Plastics Economy initiative, and Players of People’s Postcode Lottery (GB), the MAVA Foundation and the Oak Foundation are Philanthropic Funders.