Plastics play an important role in our daily lives and can often play a critical role, for instance, in protecting food and preventing food waste. But we must take urgent action where the use of plastic is problematic or unnecessary, to stop the issues plastic presents to our environment.

UK Plastics Pact members account for two thirds of all consumer plastic packaging used in the UK and they are strengthening their ambition in the fight against plastic waste. Building on the eight problem plastics identified for elimination in 2019, six new plastic items and materials have been set for elimination.

The key takeaways 

  • The UK Plastics Pact identify six new problem plastics to be eliminated as far as possible.
  • WRAP’s ground-breaking research identifies that plastic packaging for uncut fresh fruit and vegetables, should be eliminated unless it is demonstrated to reduce food waste. 
  • 14 plastic items and materials remain on our investigation list with Pact members committed to developing and implementing solutions to address the issues they present. 

The six new problem plastics set for elimination

Items 1-5 in the list should be removed by the end of 2022 as far as possible. Elimination of plastic packaging for uncut fresh fruit and vegetables is a longer-term goal.

  1. Plastic wrapping for multi-sales of tins, bottles, and cartons
  2. PVC cling film
  3. Non-compostable fruit / veg stickers
  4. Non-compostable tea and coffee bags
  5. Single use, single serving plastic sachets / jiggers in restaurant settings
  6. Plastic packaging for uncut fresh fruit & vegetables, unless it is demonstrated to reduce food waste

Reducing household food waste and plastic packaging

WRAP’s ground-breaking research and our three industry recommendations

What progress have we seen under The UK Plastics Pact to eliminate problem plastics:

There has been a
10%
reduction in consumer packaging between 2018 & 2020.
There has been a
46%
reduction in problematic or unnecessary plastic items since 2018
We've seen the greatest reduction in PVC packaging which has fallen by
80%
since 2018

Changes you will see on shelf - Pact member action 

Industry progress on tackling problematic plastics, including action against the original list of eight plastic items, can be found in our UK Plastics Pact Annual Report. It includes examples from, Morrisons, Lidl, Wilko, PepsiCo, Sainsbury's, Nestle UK & Ireland, Britvic, Danone, innocent drinks, Waitrose & Partners, Mars Petcare, Klockner Pentaplast, Mondelez, Premier Foods and Samworth Brothers.   

Read more in our Annual Report for 2020-21

The original eight for elimination

  1. Disposable plastic cutlery
  2. Disposable plastic plates and bowls
  3. Plastic straws
  4. Cotton buds with plastic stems
  5. Plastic stirrers
  6. Household Polystyrene Packaging
  7. Oxo-degradable plastic products
  8. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) packaging

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