On November 20, 2019, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced the release of a new upstream innovation guide offering practical advice for reducing plastic pollution and real-world examples already at the design stage. The document, with a focus on upstream innovation, was designed for stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in packaging. It advocates preventing waste generation by implementing improvements already during the development of a product.

The document (1) introduces a triangular concept of upstream innovation, (2) offers guidance and examples on how to apply the three key strategies of elimination, reuse, and material recirculation, (3) explains how to support and make decisions while innovating upstream processes as well as (4) demonstrates with several case studies how other businesses implemented their upstream innovation.

Apart from the guide itself, the authors also provide an interactive website, which further links to a searchable database of case studies, a workshop toolkit, a communications pack, presentation slides as well as a set of explanatory YouTube videos.

The guide represents a follow-up to the organization’s “Second New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Progress report” (FPF reported), which stated that businesses need to “step up elimination and reuse if to meet 2025 plastic pollution targets.”

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Ellen MacArthur Foundation (November 19, 2020). “New Upstream Innovation guide offers practical solutions to the plastic pollution crisis.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (November 5, 2020). “Global Commitment 2020 Progress Report published.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (November 2020). “Upstream Innovation: A guide to packaging solutions.”