The New Plastics Economy: A Bold New Plan to Combat Plastic Pollution

The New Plastics Economy is an effort to reduce plastic pollution spearheaded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with support from the UN Environmental Programme. The ambitious project aims to curtail the amount of plastics being sent to the landfill by focusing on the three Rs: reuse, reduce, and recycle. Overall, the program aims to establish a circular economy for plastics by setting a goal of having all plastics be reusable, recyclable, or compostable, as well as eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign. The New Plastics Economy launched a global commitment initiative in 2018, and about 400 companies have signed on, taking on various levels of commitment. These signatories include Nestle, Pepsico, Unilever, Target, and Walmart, among others. However, some key players responsible for heavy plastic use are missing, such as Amazon, Costco, Procter & Gamble, and other large firms.

The business signatories have pledged to disclose the amount of plastic their businesses use annually and working towards the goals they have set. These goals vary, but all of the packaged goods, retail, and packaging producing signatories have vowed to make all of their plastic packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025. Consumer goods and retailers have committed to an average of twenty five percent recycled content in their plastic packaging by 2025. Additionally, Nestle has committed to removing problematic plastics from their packaging. Overall, the New Plastics Economy has succeeded in bringing attention to the problematic and wasteful way plastics are being used and putting pressure on large firms to change the way they think about their plastic use. Unfortunately, several key players are missing from the global commitment, but as the movement continues to grow and consumers demand better from the firms they buy from, there is hope that these firms may cave and jump on the bandwagon. More information about the New Plastics Economy and the global commitment can be found at