The Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced on October 23, 2019 the publication of the first annual progress report for The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. The report is described as providing “an unprecedented level of transparency on how almost 200 businesses and governments are reshaping the plastics system” and outlines progress achieved. On average 60% of signatories to the Global Commitment are reported to have plastic packaging that is reusable, recyclable, or compostable. They have committed to increasing this to 100% by 2025. The multinational manufacturers Unilever, Mars, and PepsiCo are recognized for their “significant reductions in virgin plastic use by 2025.” The report also applauds government signatories including France, Rwanda, the UK, as well as the cities of Sao Paulo and Austin for introducing policies including “bans, public procurement, extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, fiscal measures, and incentives for research and development.”

While the progress highlighted in the report is seen as steps in the right direction, the authoring organizations note there is still much to do. “To reach the 2025 targets, continued scaling of action and a further increase in the ambition level will be needed. In particular, this applies to efforts going beyond recycling, such as elimination and reuse. This will need to happen in the short term, as major investments, innovations, and transformation programs must start now in order to have an impact by 2025.”

Originally launched in October 2018 (FPF reported), the Global Commitment is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme and envisions “a circular economy for plastic in which it never becomes waste.” Signatories to the commitment aim to realize this by eliminating all problematic and unnecessary plastic items, ensuring plastics are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and to keep used plastic out of the environment.

Other non-governmental organizations have also voiced their support for additional efforts. Following over 480 clean-up efforts across over 50 countries in September 2019, Break Free From Plastic published their 2019 Brand Audit Report, which identifies the brands that manufactured the most plastic products collected during the clean ups. The authors of the report call “on the top polluters highlighted in this report to lead the way in revealing how much single-use plastic they use, setting clear, public, measurable targets on how they will reduce the quantity of single-use plastic items they produce, and finally to completely reinvent their product delivery systems in order to avoid creating more plastic pollution.”

Read More

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (October 23, 2019). “First annual New Plastics Economy Global Commitment progress report published.”

UN Environment (October 24, 2019). “New global commitment report reveals progress towards eliminating plastic pollution.”

Catherine Benson Wahlén (October 29, 2019). “Report Finds Early Progress on New Plastics Economy Commitments.” IISD

Steve Toloken (October 29, 2019). “Ellen MacArthur Foundation pushes brand owners to use less virgin plastic.” Plastics News

Chemical Watch (October 30, 2019). “Plastic packaging: 400 organizations agree to eliminate hazardous chemicals.

PlastEurope (October 31, 2019). “Early progress being made to eliminate problem packaging.

Plastic Pollution Coalition (October 28, 2019). “Coca-Cola, Nestlé and PepsiCo named top plastic polluters for the second year in a row.”

Sharon Lerner (October 23, 2019). “Coca-Cola named most polluting brand in global audit of plastic waste.” The Intercept


Ellen MacArthur Foundation (October 23, 2019). “The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment 2019 Progress Report.” (pdf)

Break Free From Plastic (October 23, 2019). “Branded Vol. II Identifying the World’s Top Corporate Plastic Polluters.” (pdf)