Waste Management

  • Which Brands Are Combatting Pollution?

Which Brands Are Combatting Pollution?

May 31 2018 Read 996 Times

Over 40 of the world’s biggest food and drink brands have signalled their commitment to combatting plastic pollution by signing up to the UK Plastics Pact. Masterminded by waste reduction charity Wrap, the pact sets out four main targets to reduce plastic waste by 2025.

To date, household names such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo have signed up to the deal, sparking hope that the initiative can make a real difference in our recycling habits and position the UK as a global leader of curtailing plastic pollution.

The scourge of plastic pollution

Wrap estimates that UK households dump around 12 million tonnes of plastic waste into landfills every year – and that’s not even counting the trash which finds its way into lakes and reservoirs or the supposedly “recycled” material which ends up in overseas landfills.

The food processing industry already has a significant environmental fight on its hand in terms of addressing animal rights issues, avoiding deforestation, streamlining treatment of challenging wastewaters and reducing its carbon footprint as much as possible. Now, the landmark UK Plastics Pact shows that many of the industry forerunners are serious about reducing plastic pollution, as well.

The finer points of the pact

Wrap has indicated that the Pact will transform the plastic packaging industry by meeting four specific targets by 2025. These are:

  • Making 100% of plastic packaging compostable, recyclable or reusable
  • Achieving a 70% recycling/composting threshold of plastic packaging    
  • Achieving an average of 30% recycled content in all plastic packaging
  • Phasing out single-use plastics altogether through redesigning and innovating

At present, 42 companies have signed up to the Pact, including some of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution on the planet. These include all four of the big UK supermarkets (Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco) and the two budget ones (Aldi and Lidl), as well as household brand names like Coca-Cola, Britvic, PepsiCo, Birdseye, Pret and Procter & Gamble. Together, these brands are responsible for over four-fifths of all plastic packaging in the UK.

A big scalp

Procter & Gamble in particular is seen as something of a coup for the UK Plastics Pact, given that they own subsidiary brands Ariel, Head & Shoulders and Pampers, among others. Aimee Goldsmith, communications manager at P & G, says the company are well aware of the challenges involved in meeting these ambitious targets, but that they are prepared and willing to take them on.

“There's a whole packaging development team who works at P&G to make sure that the product reaches the end user in perfect condition,” she explained to Sky News. “That might be the stability of the bottle, the fragility of the bottle, whether or not it's going to fracture or degrade when it's in our hot shower room. So we'll be looking at all types of things relating to the plastics that we use in our products.”

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