WRAP has announced that members of the UK Plastics Pact have committed to removing eight problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic items from shelves by the end of 2020 and have identified a further 19 items to take action against by 2025.

Members of the UK Plastics Pact, which aims to significantly reduce unnecessary plastic packaging, ensure all plastic packaging is recyclable or reusable and the vast majority is effectively recycled by 2025, have stated that the eight items identified as priorities will be removed from circulation ‘wherever possible’ by the end of 2020. They have also committed to investigating the possibility of removing further items from circulation if barriers to their recycling cannot be overcome.

The eight items identified as needing to be removed from circulation are:

  • Disposable plastic cutlery
  • All polystyrene packaging
  • Cotton buds with plastic stems
  • Plastic stirrers
  • Plastic straws
  • Oxo-degradable plastics
  • PVC packaging
  • Disposable plastic plates and bowls

The further plastic items to be investigated are:

  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic film packaging (crisp packets)
  • Multi-layer non-recyclable plastics
  • Multi-pack rings for canned drinks
  • Fruit and vegetable net bags
  • Multi-buy bulk wrapping (multipack crisps packaging)
  • PVC cling film
  • Bottle tops and caps
  • Single-use drinks bottles
  • Non-recyclable coloured plastics
  • Fruit and vegetable punnets
  • Internal plastic trays
  • Disposable plastic cups
  • Fruit and vegetable stickers
  • Plastic cup lids
  • Plastic coffee pods
  • Milk and salad dressing pots
  • Tear-off tamper evidence strips on containers
  • Teabags

Commenting on the lists of items, Peter Maddox, Director at WRAP, said: “We know that more people than ever are concerned about the impact of plastics. The fundamental way industry can support this public desire is by addressing the issues that lead to plastic packaging being problematic. So for every item of packaging we need to consider whether plastic is the right material choice, or indeed if packaging is required at all. In many cases, plastic may be the best material choice from an environmental perspective. In these cases, we need to ensure that the plastic can be and is recycled. The items listed today are priorities for UK Plastics Pact members, and the onus is on those members to implement changes, urgently.”