Why The New UK Pact May Save The World

In hopes to improve our environment, more than 40 companies in the UK have signed up to a voluntary pact to cut avoidable plastic packaging from their products.

Amongst a growing public backlash against the amount of plastic packaging that is used in supermarkets and food products, companies like Coca Cola and Tesco have joined the government and campaigners to from the UK Plastics Pack.

The pack includes a number of pledges, such as that by 2025 all plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

The sustainability group, WRAP, have been the driving force behind the campaign, in this bid to help save the environment. Its chief executive, Marcus Gover said:

“This requires a whole scale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act.”

He continued to encourage teamwork in order to continue this important cause. “That is what makes the UK Plastics Pact unique. It unites every body, business and organisation with a will to act on plastic pollution. We will never have a better time to act, and together we can.”

Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, agreed with this sentiment and claimed:

“We all have a role to play in reducing the amount of plastics used in society. For our part we accept our responsibilities and are working hard to reduce the use of plastic across our business.”

There are criticisms about the pact, with some critics saying it is only voluntary and that the companies involved have no obligation to honour the pledges.

Friends of the Earth called for strong government legislation:

And the Green Party pointed out the failings of the pact:

More than this, documents released this week under the freedom of information act, reveal that the representative bodies of the very same supermarkets have lobbied the government against raising the amount of money they contribute to the management of waste and recycling.

These representative bodies claimed that it “would add considerably to the compliance costs of UK producers (including UK retailers and food and drink manufacturers), under the Packaging and Packaging Waster Directive.”

Although this lobbying took place in 2016, the contradiction between then and now is shocking.

Ultimately, the UK Plastics Pact shows that supermarkets and food companies are recognizing that something needs to be done about the enormous amount of avoidable waste. However,with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch now 3 TIMES THE SIZE OF FRANCE, the situation is drastic and, consequently, calls for drastic action.

While this is a small step in the right direction that will ultimately make a difference in our world, a voluntary pledge is not enough. We won’t get to see the true benefits from this pact for a few years to show the numbers. If this is becoming a huge promise to all companies, this should become mandatory for all companies, and other actions should continue to be executed as well. 

Featured Image via Pexels


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