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Governments and businesses sign up to beat plastics pollution

ellen macarthur

Some 250 governments, packaging producers, retailers, recyclers and campaign groups have signed up to a global commitment to eradicate plastic waste and pollution.

The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment, and was launched at the Our Ocean conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Signatories included companies representing 20% of all plastic packaging produced globally such as Danone, Mars and Unilever, and waste management firms Suez and Veolia.

More than $200m has been pledged by five venture capital funds in support of the commitment to create a circular economy for plastic.

Initial targets include elimination of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging, ensuring that all plastic packaging can be easily reused, recycled or composted by 2025 and a significant increase the amounts of plastics reused or recycled into new products. The foundation said targets would be reviewed every 18 months, and become increasingly ambitious.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world. It is a global problem requiring a global solution.

“That’s why the Government has brought together the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance and Global Plastics Action Partnership. It is also why I want to congratulate the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on its excellent work to help galvanise action. Only by unifying countries and businesses all over the world we will be able to safeguard our land, rivers and seas for future generations.”

Dame Ellen MacArthur, the foundation’s founder, said: “We know that cleaning up plastics from our beaches and oceans is vital, but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year. We need to move upstream to the source of the flow.”

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