Recently, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) released ‘Our plan for a sustainable planet‘, an ambitious blueprint to achieve a waste-free world by 2025.
The proposals aim to encourage green growth and circularity throughout society and the economy and call for a concerted effort not only to achieve zero waste, but to create a surplus of ‘natural capital’ for future generations.
The plan addresses many areas of waste management, from tackling food waste to reducing the consumption of clothing, with a key focus on dealing with plastic waste.
Currently, 141 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, and WRAP estimates that more than eight million tonnes of that ends up in the ocean. This production accounts for nearly 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere and contributing towards climate change.
Through its UK Plastics Pact, WRAP hopes to work with businesses at all levels of the plastics value chain, as well as governments and NGOs to tackle the amount of plastic that we waste. WRAP hopes to do so by reducing the amount of packaging on supermarket shelves, as well as developing the design of plastic packaging to make it easier to recycle.
WRAP has set the target of ensuring that 100% of plastic packaging is recyclable or compostable by 2025, while hoping to increase the recycling or composting rate to 70%. A key factor in these targets is a desire to remove 100% of single-use packaging, such as film and black plastic.
At Casepak, we welcome the goal of reducing and eventually eliminating single-use plastics, which we are unable to recycle, and have previously supported a range of measures including the government’s recent legislation to ban the use of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in England.
There are many examples of the damage that single use plastics have caused to natural habitats and animals and it is very positive to see WRAP setting out a clear strategy that could dramatically improve sustainability.
Whilst WRAP has supported the removal of unnecessary single use plastics, it has also recognised plastics’ ability to be recycled and re-processed into other items. In aiming to ensure that all plastic materials are recyclable, this plan will help to improve the productivity of recycling plants, such as our MRF facility.
At the moment, large amounts of recyclable material are contaminated by single-use plastics or food waste being placed in the recycling bin. It is therefore important that, as the recyclability of plastic increases in coming years, we consistently treat materials correctly before they enter the recycling stream.
In making sure that plastics are clean and dry before placing them in the recycling bin, we can increase the efficiency of the recycling process and the chances of closing the recycling loop and build towards a waste-free world.