Some Of The World's Biggest Brands Just Pledged To Cut Out Single-Use Plastic


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

Plastic waste is a huge problem for the world's oceans. Larina Marina/Shutterstock

Hundreds of big brands have said they will work to get rid of single-use plastic and other unnecessary plastic waste from their operations.

More than 290 organizations including Coco-Cola and Kellogg's said yesterday, Monday October 29, that they would join an initiative to fight plastic pollution. This is the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.


“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,” Dame Ellen MacArthur said in a statement. “The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment draws a line in the sand, with businesses, governments, and others around the world uniting behind a clear vision for what we need to create a circular economy for plastic.”

As part of the initiative, the signatories have vowed to make sure all packaging can be recycled by 2025. They will also aim to eliminate “problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging,” the statement noted, and increase the amount of plastic that is reused and recycled. The targets will be reviewed every 18 months to ensure they are being met.

The organizations that have signed up, which also includes PepsiCo, Danone, and Mars, are responsible for 20 percent of all plastic packaging product globally. More than $200 million has been pledged to create a circular economy for plastic.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the amount of plastic in the sea could outweigh fish by 2050, with 8 million tons of plastic waste dumped into the oceans each year. This has led to calls to reduce the amount of waste and improve marine life.


“Most efforts ‘til now have been focused on cleaning up plastic pollution. This commitment is about eliminating pollution at its source,” Rob Opsomer, the lead of the New Plastics Economy initiative, told Reuters.

The announcement comes just a week after the EU voted to ban a range of single-use items including plastic plates and cutlery by 2021. They have also pledged to make all plastic packaging recyclable by 2030.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestle – three of the signatories of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment – were recently named as the world’s worst plastic polluters. Now many will be hoping the tide can be turned, and the pollution of the world’s oceans can be halted.

“Ocean plastic is one of the most visible and disturbing examples of a plastic pollution crisis,” Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment, said in the statement from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment is the most ambitious set of targets we have seen yet in the fight to beat plastics pollution.”


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