The UK’s leading supermarkets and discounters have signed up to a world-first pact to reduce plastic pollution.

The UK Plastics Pact, launched today by environmental charity Wrap, is a unique collaboration which brings together retailers, manufacturers, trade associations, government and NGOs to tackle plastic waste.

The pact would “transform the plastic packaging system in the UK, by keeping plastic in the economy and out of the ocean,” Wrap said.

More than 40 businesses including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose, plus a number of major food and drink manufacturers such as Coca Cola European Partners and Nestlé, have joined the Pact.

The collective has committed to hit a series of ambitious targets by 2025.

These include:  

·         Eliminating problematic or unnecessary single-use 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 or composted

·         30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging

It is hoped that the UK Plastics Pact 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.

Speaking at the launch, environment secretary Michael Gove, said: “Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realised if government, businesses and the public work together.

“Industry action can prevent excess plastic reaching our supermarket shelves in the first place. I am delighted to see so many businesses sign up to this pact and I hope others will soon follow suit.”

Wrap will also be launching a campaign this summer to engage consumers and help them to take action.