Companies and cities unite to develop new circular plastics economy

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An initiative backed by 40 leading companies and a number of global cities to design a circular plastics sector has been launched.

New Plastics Economy is organised by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation and involves companies such as Amcor, Coca-Cola, DuPont, Indorama Ventures, L’Oreal, Mars, M&S, Suez, Unilever and Veolia.

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It builds on the recommendations of the report The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics that was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

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Over three years, the New Plastics Economy will focus on five building blocks. These are:

  • Dialogue mechanism – Bringing together for the first time a group of leading companies and cities across the global value chain to complete collaborative demonstration projects and inform the other building blocks
  • Global Plastics Protocol – Re-thinking plastic packaging materials, formats and after-use systems and standards to provide an economically and environmentally attractive target state to innovate towards
  • Innovation moon-shots – Mobilising targeted innovation ‘moon-shots’ focussed on system wide solutions that have the potential to scale globally
  • Evidence base – Closing critical knowledge gaps by building an economic and scientific evidence base from which to draw insights
  • Outreach – Engaging a broad set of stakeholders, including citizens, educators, students, policymakers, NGOs, and industry associations in the redesign of a better system.

Ellen Macarthur said: “This new initiative is set up for three years reflecting the scale of the challenge to mobilise over time a fundamental, system-wide transformation.

“It seeks to create a shared sense of direction, to spark a new wave of innovation and to move the plastics value chain – starting with plastic packaging – into a positive spiral of value capture, stronger economics and better environmental outcomes.”