The UK Plastics Pact inspires latest in the global network tackling plastic pollution

12 October 2020

WRAP is delighted to have supported the development of the South African Plastics Pact; the latest in the global network working together to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution.

Launched yesterday in Cape Town, the Pact is closely modelled on the world-first UK Plastics Pact, set up by WRAP in 2018. It is the latest member of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact global network, aligned with the New Plastics Economy vision. It now joins the UK, France, the Netherlands and Chile, to exchange knowledge and collaborate to drive a circular economy for plastic so that it never becomes waste.

The South African Plastics Pact brings together key players from the local plastics value chain, including businesses, the South African government, NGOs and other organisations.

Members have committed to four targets to stimulate the design of plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable and drive the use of recycled content in new products – ending the make, use and dispose culture which has led to too much plastic waste leaching into the countryside and oceans.

By delivering on the targets, the Pact will also help boost job creation in the South African plastics collection and recycling sector and help to create new opportunities in product design and reuse business models.

It is the first of its kind in Africa and the aim is for the Pact to play a pioneering role in the country and across the continent.

WRAP has played a major role in the development of the Pact and has worked closely with local partners WWF-SA and the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO).

WRAP’s support was enabled by funding support from Government of Japan through the United Nations Environment Programme under the framework of the One-Planet Network's Sustainable Lifestyles & Education Programme, and the Commonwealth Litter Programme, funded by Defra, along with logistical support from the British High Commission in Pretoria.

Said Peter Skelton, who has led on the project for WRAP: When we launched The UK Plastics Pact in 2018 we hoped it would inspire other counties to adopt the same ambitious approach. We are delighted to have been able to be part of the development of the South African Plastics Pact.

We have been able to share experience with our partners in South Africa, always ensuring the Pact is designed for the local context. This is a great example of what can be achieved through rich collaboration and shared learning and we look forward to continuing to work with our South African colleagues on this vital piece of work towards a world free of plastic waste.

Notes to Editor

The South African Plastics Pact founding members are the Clicks Group, Coca-Cola Africa, Danone, Distell, HomeChoice, Massmart, Myplas, Nampak Rigids, Pick n Pay, Polyoak, Polyplank, Shoprite Group, SPAR, Spur Holdings, The Foschini Group, Tigerbrands, Tuffy, Unilever, ADDIS, Waste Plan and Woolworths. Other organisations include Fruit South Africa, SAPRO, the Polyolefin Responsibility Organisation, the Polystyrene Association of South Africa, the PET Recycling Company, the Southern African Vinyls Association, the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa, the National Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries and the City of Cape Town.

By 2025, all members commit to:

  • Take action on problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models. 
  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable* 
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled 
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging 

The UK Plastics Pact is the first of its kind in the world. It will be replicated in other countries to form a powerful global movement for change as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative. It is being led by WRAP, the sustainability experts, with support from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.