In a press release published on March 6, 2020, it was announced that 15 governments and 66 companies and organizations have signed and launched the European Plastics Pact. The pact is described as being “a public-private coalition that wants to achieve a truly circular European plastics economy by avoiding plastic waste and bringing all actors in the value chain together.” The signatories, which include including plastics manufacturers, retailers, governments, and civil society organizations, have committed to a number of specific targets to achieve by 2025 including:
- Designing all plastic packaging and single-use products to be re-useable where possible and otherwise recyclable;
- Reducing virgin plastic use by at least 20% by weight, with half of the reduction from an absolute reduction in plastics;
- Increasing collection, sorting, and recycling capacity by 25%;
- Having an average of 30% recycled plastic content by weight across product and packaging ranges.
The full pact has been published and provides more details on the commitments and administration. It is described as being the outcome of political discussions led by the Danish, Dutch, and French governments. Current major signatories to the pact include large multinationals such as Nestlè and Unilever.
However, the pact has been met with criticism from a range of stakeholders. The European Plastics Converters are reported to have rejected the pact citing that it is a “duplication of work” given that the European Commission already launched the Circular Plastics Alliance in 2018 (FPF reported), which aims to increase the market for recycled plastics in the EU to 10 million metric tons by 2025. Speaking from the perspective of a non-governmental organization, Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) commented that the development of the pact lacked involvement from civil society and that the initiative is fully voluntary and can, therefore, “never replace strong regulatory measures.” BFFP argues it should rather “complement an ambitious and prompt implementation of EU and national legislation on packaging and single-use plastics.”
European Plastics Pact (March 2020). “The European Plastics Pact.”
Break Free From Plastic (March 6, 2020). “European Plastic Pact: a positive gesture but NGOs unimpressed.”
Jenny Eagle (March 6, 2020). “Nestlé signs European Plastics Pact.” Bakery and Snacks
Karen Laird (March 6, 2020). “European Plastics Converters Reject European Plastics Pact.” Plastics News
Jim Cornall (March 9, 2020). “Companies sign up to European Plastics Pact.” Dairy Reporter