The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the United Nations Environment Programme have released their second annual New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Progress Report – taking an in-depth look at the progress of both businesses and government signatories.
The report brings good news on two fronts: considerable progress has been made both in the incorporation of recycled plastics, as well as in the phasing out of items of concern such as PVC packaging and single-use plastics among others.
However, the report also shows that there has been little progress with regards to increasing the recyclability of plastic packaging and reducing the need for single-use packaging altogether. At the same time, progress among signatories is inconsistent: some have made impressive leaps, but others have made little or no progress at all.
In response to the new data, four calls to action have been made. The first two are directed at businesses:
- take bold action on packaging types that are not recyclable today — either developing and executing a credible roadmap to make recycling work, or decisively innovating away from them,
- set ambitious reduction targets.
The second two apply to governments:
- establish policies and mechanisms that provide dedicated and stable funding for collection and sorting, through fair industry contributions, such as extended producer responsibility (EPR), without which recycling is unlikely to ever scale,
- set a global direction and create an international framework for action, through the United Nations Environment Assembly, building on the vision for a circular economy for plastics.
The Global Commitment 2020 Progress Report can be downloaded here.