There is no question that consumers are becoming more plastic-aware. A growing awareness of the environmental impact of plastic, and single-use plastic in particular, is fast moving up the marketing agenda.
To tackle the excessive use of plastic and stem the damaging and potentially catastrophic effects on our environment WRAP, with support from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, have introduced the UK Plastics Pact. This is a collaborative initiative, designed to create a circular economy for plastics. The Pact is aiming to move businesses from a linear plastic process, one where we make, use and dispose of plastic, towards a circular system where plastic is kept in use in the consumer economy and out of the natural environment.
The brands signed up to pact, including Aldi, ASDA, Boots, John Lewis & Partners and many more, are responsible for 85% of plastic packaging sold through UK supermarkets and all have pledged to tackle problematic or unnecessary packaging. The Pact is an urgent initiative that is kicking off with a pledge to eliminate eight specific, problematic plastic items by 2020. The campaign identifies a plastic item to be problematic if its use is avoidable or reusable options are available; if it’s not recyclable, hampers the recycling process; or if it pollutes the environment.
Red Stone worked with WRAP to help create an interactive report and brand animation which aims to both raise awareness and bring about behavioural change. The report highlights the eight types of plastic to be eliminated. These include disposable plastic cutlery, all polystyrene packaging, cotton buds with plastic stems, plastic stirrers, oxo-degradables that break down to create microplastics, plastic straws, PVC packaging and disposable plastic bowls and plates.
The aim for the UK Plastics Pact is to continue to investigate plastics to build momentum and find new ways to revolutionise how businesses make and how consumers use, reuse and recycle plastics.
By 2025, the businesses have pledged to transform the UK plastic packaging sector by meeting four targets. These include ensuring that 100% of plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable; 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted and a 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging. The final target focuses on the need for steps to be taken to eliminate single use packaging items through redesign, innovation or alternative options.
As the climate emergency continues to rise up the agenda, credit must go to those brands and agencies forging ahead with meaningful change and campaigns like this that will tangibly change both consumer and business behaviour.