On November 5, 2020, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced the publication of the latest progress report on the global commitments made by businesses and governments to better manage their use of plastics. The report provides a summary of progress made across the 118 business and 17 government signatories to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which was launched in October 2018 with a vision “to stop plastic waste and pollution at source by applying circular economy principles” (FPF reported). Since the last progress report released in October 2019 (FPF reported), the initiative has seen “significant progress in two key areas: the incorporation of recycled content in plastic packaging, and the phase out of the most commonly identified problematic items, such as PS and PVC packaging, undetectable carbon black pigments, and single-use plastic bags and straws.” However, it notes that only minor steps have been made toward “increasing recyclability of plastic packaging and reducing the need for single-use packaging altogether.” It finds that “progress on shifting towards reusable packaging is limited, and elimination efforts remain focused on a relatively small set of materials and formats.”

The foundation notes that “there are also significant differences in the rate of progress between signatories” with some making large advances and others having made little to no progress towards the 2025 targets. To get the initiative on track, the report is calling for businesses to take “bold action on packaging types that are not recyclable today” and deciding now to either execute roadmaps to make their recycling work or to innovate away from them. To support industry, governments are being called on to establish mechanisms for dedicated funding in cooperation with the industry’s financial contributions on collection and sorting, as well as to set a global direction for international action towards a circular economy for plastics.


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

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

EUWID (November 13, 2020). “Ellen MacArthur lobt Fortschritte beim Rezyklatanteil in Kunststoffverpackungen.” (in German)

IISD (November 24, 2020). “2025 Plastics Targets Need Faster Action by Business, Government.”