This latest research, developed by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with analytical support from SYSTEMIQ, is the first report to provide a clear transition strategy for the global plastics industry to design better packaging, increase recycling rates, and introduce new models for making better use of packaging.
The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing action report provides a global action plan to move towards 70% reuse and recycling of plastic packaging, endorsed by over 40 industry leaders, while highlighting the need for fundamental redesign and innovation of the remaining 30%.
The report finds that:
1. Without fundamental redesign and innovation, about 30% of plastic packaging will never be reused or recycled
2. For at least 20% of plastic packaging, reuse provides an economically attractive opportunity
3. With concerted efforts to redesign packaging and the systems for managing it after use, recycling would be economically attractive for the remaining 50% of plastic packaging
The report has been endorsed by over 40 business and government leaders, including:
"We urgently need to transform global plastic packaging material flows if we are to continue to reap the benefits of this versatile material. This report marks a major milestone, calling out specific actions to capture opportunities for redesign and innovation, reuse, and recycling. It’s now up to us all to get it done." Paul Polman CEO, Unilever
"Resources management should not be summarised as a matter of cost optimisation but as a powerful driver of shared value creation. This belief runs through our entire business at Danone, fundamental to our relationships with suppliers, partners and our customers. Danone has embedded the principles of the circular economy in its value chain, managing now plastic as a cycle rather than as conventional linear supply chain. We are hugely supportive of the New Plastics Economy report as it lays out actions to turn the challenges posed by plastics today into an opportunity that will deliver value tomorrow. I am excited that Danone is taking a leading role in this initiative to help drive systemic change." Emmanuel Faber CEO, Danone
"It will take a concerted effort involving various stakeholders to make the systemic changes needed to transition to a circular economy. This is especially true for plastics. Veolia believes that the New Plastics Economy initiative provides an excellent collaborative platform to catalyse the transition. The initiative's latest report, “The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing action”, builds on the findings of the previous report and provides a clear roadmap of priority actions for 2017 to drive progress towards a global plastics system that works: a system that will capture material value and contribute to improved economic and environmental outcomes. Veolia looks forward to its continued participation in these efforts." Antoine Frérot CEO, Veolia
"Healthy oceans can support healthy people and healthy profits; if we let them. That means governments, business and individual citizens backing an inclusive, circular economy. It means using legislation, innovation and consumer choices to replace plastic related demand and pollution with better alternatives that create jobs and still look after our planet. And it means supporting this initiative by ensuring that each us knows how we can help rethink, reuse and recycle plastic. This report is a great place to start." Erik Solheim Executive Director, UN Environment