Earthwise Steps up Plastic Pledge on Global Scale

A visiting child looks at an exhibit made from plastic found in the ocean hanging from fisherman's nets at the Ocean Plastics

Bangor University has demonstrated its on-going commitment to sustainability, by becoming one of the signatories of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with UN Environment and launched at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali.

The global commitment is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment, and backed by environmental charity WWF, governments including the United Kingdom and Scotland, universities, financial institutions and campaign groups. At the heart of the Global Commitment is a vision of a New Plastics Economy, where plastics never become waste - a circular approach to create the "new normal" for plastic packaging.

Ellen MacArthur, the record-breaking British sailor who is behind the campaign, said cleaning up plastics from oceans and beaches is vital, "but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year".

Signatories to the pledge include Danone, H&M, L'Oreal, PepsiCo, and The Coca-Cola Company.

Targets set under the Global Commitment will be reviewed every 18 months and ambitions will be scaled-up over the coming years.

Scientists estimate 8.2billion tons of plastic has been produced since the 1950s.

"We are seeing consumers wanting fully recyclable solutions".

Friends of the Earth plastics campaigner Julian Kirby said: "It's encouraging that more firms and governments are listening to public demands to curb plastic waste and are pledging to act".

The Board of Directors of The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) has today issued a statement calling for the consumer goods industry to play a leading role in eliminating plastic waste on land and sea and endorses the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy vision. Then, by 2025, all of their plastic packaging must be reusable, recyclable, or compostable AND created using renewable energy.

Move from single-use to reuse packaging models by increasing the sales of bulk packs (via refill stations and consumer purchase) with 140% growth in units over 5 years.

She said the global commitment was "just one step on what will be a challenging journey" but one which could lead to huge benefits for society, the environment and the economy. Five venture capital funds have also pledged more than $200 million to support the initiative.

UN Environment, which leads the Global Partnership on Marine Litter and its Clean Seas Campaign, last month also launched the Global Plastics Platform to support worldwide efforts to tackle plastic pollution.

We all know that plastic pollution is a very real problem, so much so that it's estimated by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. That's why the UK Government has brought together the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance and Global Plastics Action Partnership. "To make a plastic-free world possible we have a collective responsibility, and it starts with businesses".

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