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More firms join MacArthur’s plastics drive

Five more firms have joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s ’New Plastics Economy’ initiative, which seeks to bring circular economy principles to the industry.

The scheme, which launched in May, brings together companies, cities, philanthropists, policy-makers, academics, students, NGOs and citizens to rethink and redesign the future of plastics, starting with packaging.

It follows a report from the foundation to the World Economic Forum at Davos in January, which considered the global plastic packaging value chain, highlighting its contributions and drawbacks.

The report estimated that the annual loss of material was worth between $80bn and $120bn (£54bn and £92bn), with negative impact on the environmental costing at least $40bn a year. This is greater than the plastic packaging industry’s overall profit.

Amcor, The Coca-Cola Company, MARS, Unilever and Veolia signrf up as the initiative’s ‘core partners’. Now WRAP, Suez, Recycling Technologies, Loop Industries and Tomra Systems have joined them.

Adrian Griffiths, chief executive at Recycling Technologies, said: “Clearly, the issue of waste plastic is growing year on year and it is a truly global problem. By turning waste plastic into a resource that can be reused, our technology and process has the potential to contribute to creating a better system for plastics.”

Dame Ellen MacArthur said the initiative sought to mobilise a fundamental transformation.

She said: “The ultimate goal of the ’New Plastics Economy’ is to design a system where plastic packaging never becomes waste, and can re-enter the economy as either a valuable biological or technical material.

“In order to solve the plastic packaging problem globally, we need to effectively re-think the entire chain because, currently, not one producer, retailer, manufacturer or processor of plastics can do this alone. The whole system has to shift.”

In January 2017, the initiative will present its latest research findings to business and government leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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