Food and drink firms pledge to reduce global plastic pollution

The initiative comes as public pressure mounts on manufacturers and retailers to pare down the deluge of plastic packaging that is clogging landfills and choking the seas

The initiative comes as public pressure mounts on manufacturers and retailers to pare down the deluge of plastic packaging that is clogging landfills and choking the seas

Ahold Delhaize has teamed up with nearly 300 organizations as part of an global effort to eradicate plastic waste and pollution at the source.

Business giants, financial investors, non-profit organisations and national Governments have vowed to eradicate plastic waste and pollution, as part of a new Global Commitment spearheaded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Businesses that have signed up will publish annual data on their progress to ensure transparency with the public and drive momentum. We turn too many barrels of oil into plastic, and design plastic packaging without fully considering what happens to it after it's used.

The minimum ambition levels would be reviewed every 18 months "and become increasingly ambitious over the coming years to ensure the global commitment continues to represent true leadership" said the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which has partnered with UN Environment.

The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment has been created to unite businesses, governments, and other organizations behind a common vision. They include well-known consumer businesses such as Danone, H&M group, Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc., L'Oréal, Mars, Inc., PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, and Unilever; major packaging producers such as Amcor, Constantia Flexibles, Greiner, Mondi, and Sealed Air; plastics producers, including NatureWorks and Novamont; and resource management specialist Veolia.

Without action to curb plastic pollution in the oceans, there could be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation started its research on plastic pollution four years ago. We would like to invite our clients, brands, and other stakeholders to work with us to make the plastics economy truly circular'.

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"We are on the edge of a plastic precipice".

Pavan Sukhdev, president of WWF International, added: "The plastics crisis can only be solved with the combined efforts of all key players in the system".

Pernod Ricard's chairman & CEO, Alexandre Ricard, said the problem of plastic pollution wasn't "a new one, but it feels that we have now reached a tipping point".

The Global Commitment builds on the original objective of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy, which called on businesses and nations to recycle and re-use 70% of the world's plastic packaging.

Nevertheless, some are concerned that the pledge is not ambitious enough. "The sheer number and size of the companies behind this pledge shows the industry is responding to people's concerns about the impacts of plastic waste". According to the report, raising plastic collection and recycling rates across these five countries to 80 percent would cut the global ocean plastics leakage rate by 23 percent. Waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are designed out of the system. Just because something is recyclable, it doesn't mean it will actually be recycled.

The commitments came during the 2018 Our Ocean Conference, held in Bali, Indonesia, and included pledges that by 2025, 100 percent of plastic packaging be reusable, compostable or recyclable, as well as moving away from "problematic" packaging and using significantly more recycled plastic in packaging.

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