The UK Plastics Pact, launched by sustainability experts WRAP, has brought together businesses, including major food and drinks companies, that supply the pub sector.
The 42 members of the pact, which include the likes of Coca-Cola, Britvic and Premier Foods, have pledged to “eliminate” unnecessary single-use plastic packaging and ensure that 100% of plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable. They have also agreed that 70% of plastic packaging will be recycled or composted.
WRAP said that in the UK the pact would help to reduce the total amount of plastic packaging as well as help build a stronger recycling system.
The immediate focus, it said, would be on identifying the priority projects that will deliver greatest impacts in the short and long term. This could be in overcoming barriers to increasing the amount of recycled content used in new packaging, developing reusable packaging and working to overcome the issue of unrecyclable black plastic.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realised if Government, businesses and the public work together.
“I am delighted to see so many businesses sign up to this pact and I hope others will soon follow suit.”
Wrap CEO Marcus Gover said: “Together, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink and reshape the future of plastic so that we retain its value, and curtail the damage plastic waste wreaks on our planet.
“This requires a wholescale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act.”
Trade association UKHospitality is also a signatory to the pact and is helping to spearhead a sector-wide packaging event: Unpack the Future of Hospitality, in association with the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), to address the issue of packaging waste in hospitality.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls is urging the sector to throw its weight behind the campaign.
“The problems caused by packaging waste are becoming increasingly salient and there is a consensus that we must, collectively, do more,” she said.
“Our commitment to the UK Plastic Pact highlights our ambition to spearhead the hospitality sector’s efforts to address packaging waste and ensure the sector plays a valuable role in helping develop sustainable and green practices and alternatives to disposable packaging.”
The British Beer & Pub Association said that it was in the process of consulting with its members regarding the WRAP plastics pledge. The organisation said it already works closely with WRAP as a signatory to the Courtauld Commitment 2025 on reducing food waste.