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Pact begins to banish black plastic

Hard-to-recycle black plastics, straws and plastic cutlery are disappearing from supermarket shelves a year after WRAP launched its Plastics Pact, according to the charity.

WRAP said plans by charter signatories included seeking refillable alternatives to plastic packaging, particularly for cleaning products; removing polystyrene and PVC from food packaging; and, by the end of 2020, from non-food products.

Pact signatories are also asked by December 2019 to use only plastic that can be sorted effectively in recycling, such as ‘detectable black’ pigments.

The Pact was set up in May 2018, signed by 40 businesses and supported by environment secretary Michael Gove.

Speaking on the Pact’s first anniversary, WRAP chief executive Marcus Gover said: “The first year was about building solid foundations and setting a clear direction of travel for collaborative change.

“Moving forward, there will be tough decisions to make, innovations to foster and investment to be made – all at great pace and with an urgency that reflects the scale of the problem we are tackling.

“Our members have shown they are up for the challenge and we have great momentum to propel us forward. I’m convinced we are on the way to transforming for ever the way we make, use and dispose of plastic.”


Plastic Pact’s targets for 2025 are:

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models
  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging


Meanwhile, consumer goods giant Unilever has launched a detectable black pigment for HDPE bottles for its Tresemmé and Lynx brands, which it said would allow a further 2,500 tonnes of plastic bottles to be sorted and sent for recycling each year (pictured).

These will be phased in during 2019 and the two brands will have a minimum of 30% recycled material in their packs.

Unilever said it had carried out extensive trials, in partnership with Recoup and waste management partners Veolia, Suez, Viridor and Tomra, which “have proven that this new pigment can be technically detected within their MRFs in the UK”.

It will make the information involved accessible to others in the industry.

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