An action plan that was presented to the British parliament is being touted as the biggest pledge made up by global soft drink companies till date in replacement of throwaway plastic bottles for their products.
The report was sponsored and agreed to by the likes of Danone, Suntory and Nestlé and it states that the companies completely back the program of deposit and return of plastic bottles implemented by the UK government. The companies aim to achieve a target of zero plastics for packaging that are sent to the landfill or are simply discarded and which end up in the environment. The time frame set for themselves by the companies is 2030. By this time period, the companies have also pledged to use recycled and/or renewable materials for packaging.
“Achieving this vision requires all stakeholders in the bottled water and soft drinks value chain to commit to eliminating plastic packaging waste as a strategic priority”, said the report that was prepared by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
the timing of the report and the pledge within it is crucial because eth UK government is mulling imposition of a tax on single use plastics and might ban use of plastic straws next year.
According to the report, the soft drinks companies have promised that they would strive to make sure that they are able to significantly reduce the amount of plastics that they use in packaging of bottled water and soft drinks as well as strive to make use of packaging material that can be completely recycled or reused. There needs ot be active participation and coordination between business, government and consumers to reduce plastic waste, the companies said in the report.
“Leading bottled water and soft drinks companies understand that coordinated action is required across the value chain to address the challenge of plastic packaging waste from bottled water and soft drinks and to help create long-term sustainable solutions,” the report said.
The report also urges the UK government to alter the scheme for producer responsibility which is a program where companies are bound to contribute towards recycling their products.
The companies have also urged that the revenues generated from a new scheme be given to them and implementation of a deposit return system where the money is to be reinvested in recycling and reprocessing of packaging that uses plastic. However, the companies also said that some behavioral change in consumer behavior is also needed.
Welcoming the move, Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner for Greenpeace, said: “some of the world’s largest food companies now recognise the huge environmental impacts single-use plastic bottles are having on our marine environment.”
“And it’s positive to see major businesses backing a fully comprehensive deposit return schemes for drinks containers and acknowledging that they should also cut the amount of throwaway plastic they churn out. What we need to see now is real investment in the solutions and ambitious targets for plastic packaging reduction and reuse. With nearly 500bn plastic bottles being produced globally every year and just a few of them being recycled, action cannot come a moment too soon.”
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)