The European Plastics Pact roadmap was developed by four working groups with assistance from non-governmental organisation WRAP


The European Plastics Pact was established to develop a public-private coalition to tackle the challenges of creating a circular economy for plastics and packaging (Credit: Pixabay)

The European Plastics Pact has published its roadmap in order to direct and drive forward urgent action by its 143 signatories across 20 countries.

This roadmap will help signatories develop cross-border connections and share innovations that harmonise and accelerate the development of a circular economy for plastics, and reduce the huge challenge of plastic wastage and littering.

The European Plastics Pact was established by the Netherlands, France and Denmark to develop a public-private coalition to tackle the challenges of creating a circular economy for plastics and packaging.

It comprises of 15 national governments, 82 businesses, three regional governments and 43 other organisations, including businesses, trade associations and NGOs.

The European Plastics Pact is part of circular economy charity the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact network, working towards a common vision of a circular economy for plastic.


European Plastic Pact roadmap outlines four targets to tackle plastic waste

The European Plastics Pact’s roadmap was developed by the four working groups under the Pact with the assistance from non-governmental organisation the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

WRAP CEO Marcus Gover said: “The European Plastics Pact roadmap is about action on one of the most pervasive environmental issues – plastic pollution.

“It will mobilise signatories to act, and focus on key outcomes that deliver these ambitious targets.

“It will transform our use of plastics across Europe, just as we’re doing in the UK through the first Plastic Pact.

“I am delighted that WRAP was asked to act as secretariat and technical support. Let ours be the generation that hands those who follow the solution to the problem of plastic pollution.”

It has four targets designed to bring economic, social and environmental benefits for Europe, the first being to design all plastic packaging and single-use plastic products placed on the market to be reusable where possible and in any case recyclable by 2025.

The roadmap states there should be a move towards more responsible use of plastic packaging and single-use plastic products, aiming to reduce virgin plastic products and packaging by at least 20% by weight by 2025, with half of this coming from an absolute reduction in plastics.

It also outlines that there needs to be an increase in the collection, sorting and recycling capacity by at least 25% by 2025, and reach a level that corresponds to market demand for recycled plastics.

The final target in the roadmap states there needs to be an increase in the use of recycled plastics in new products and packaging by 2025, with plastics user companies achieving an average of at least 30% recycled plastics by weight in their product and packaging range.

The roadmap details the action, commitment and investment required to achieve these goals, and has been designed to help coordinate a shift and large-scale reevaluation of the way we produce, use and reuse plastics in Europe.

european plastics pact roadmap
Consumer goods business Unilever is one of the signatories to the European Plastics Pact (Credit: Unilever)

This is aligned with existing European initiatives such as the European Commission’s Circular Plastic Alliance, and national Plastics Pacts.

The roadmap also conveys the role of various stakeholders operating in the plastics economy will play in reaching the Pact targets.

These include national government departments, city authorities, NGOs, investors, packaging and product designers, brand owners, retailers and others who are not currently members of the European Plastics Pact.

France’s ministry for the ecological transition said: “Every minute one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our ocean to the point that we now have a ‘seventh continent of plastic’ on the surface of the globe.

“We need to act with determination, and we need to deliver. And this Pact provides us all with a unique opportunity, to exchange ideas, display good practices and discuss the key challenges ahead.”

Sweden’s ministry of the environment added: “For the Swedish government it has been important to support the European Plastics Pact as it shows a willingness from ambitious countries and front running companies to go beyond what is required to achieve sustainable use of plastics.

“Our hope is that the success of this Pact will show other regions what is possible to achieve and that both countries and companies from the whole value chain are ready to move towards ambitious global action on plastics.”

Signatories of the European Plastics Pact have agreed to deliver on the Pact’s targets and engage in cross border connection, co-operation, innovation and harmonisation.

Signatory organisations are from different parts of the value chain and are represented in the Pact’s steering committee.

Unilever’s president of global foods and refreshment Hanneke Faber said: “This roadmap gives a clear direction of travel for the European Plastic Pact.

“One where we can find new ways across the value chain to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic packaging in line with our Unilever commitments.”

The European Plastics Pact covers all plastic packaging and single-use plastics products consumed in the European economic area, and in the member states of the European Free Trade Association, regardless of the place of production.

Its actions cover governments, businesses, the recycling sector and citizens, and will prioritise and coordinate activities through working groups.