Leading UK manufacturers and retailers have reduced plastic by 10 per cent over the past few years, a new report has revealed.
In addition, members of the “UK plastics pact”, made up of major supermarkets, manufacturers and producers have almost halved the number of superfluous plastic items since 2018.
The recycled content in packaging has also doubled to 18 per cent since 2018 and there has been a 70 per cent reduction in materials that make recycling difficult, waste reduction organisation WRAP reveals.
Members of the pact have drawn up new targets to achieve by 2025, including eliminating unnecessary single-use packaging, making 100 per cent of plastic packaging reusable, and making sure 70 per cent is recyclable.
Items such as plastic cutlery, plates, bowls, and straws have fallen by 46 per cent since 2018, whilst PVC packaging has been cut by 80 per cent, despite polystyrene packaging only being reduced by three per cent.
Overall, supermarket shelves have seen a 10 per cent drop in plastic packaging – cutting carbon by 350,000 tonnes, the equivalent of removing 150,000 cars from the road since 2018.
“The UK plastics pact arose at a time of great public concern about plastic pollution and has been a constant and practical programme for collective change to reset our relationship with plastics, WRAP chief executive Marcus Gover told The Evening Standard.
“Comparing 2020 against 2018, it has shown strong progress against its environmental targets during a period of unmitigated societal upheaval.”
Minister of resources and waste Jo Churchill added: “The UK plastics pact is creating a real sea change and shows how businesses are rising to the challenge of cutting their use of plastic and increasing recycling.”