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Data at the Core UK Plastic Pact

Andy Cooper
Jun 03, 2020

With the third data submission for the UK plastic Pact due on the 26 June, it seemed a suitable time to provide you with an update on how Valpak is working with WRAP as one of the data partners for the pact.

Pact Targets

The UK Plastic Pact is a voluntary agreement to meet four targets by 2025:

  • Eliminate single-use packaging
  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • 70% of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled or composted
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

This can be achieved by designing packaging so that it can be easily recycled, educating consumers and appropriate legislation change to drive a system where plastics never become waste and don’t escape into the environment at the current rate.

Problematic Plastic Items

WRAP have been working hard to provide guidance, clarification and growth on these targets by helping members to ensure that they have the resources available to them to make real change. The information provided by WRAP is a great starting point in helping to build a business case to change plastic packaging in line with the four targets. Most prominently, the eight problem plastic items carefully agreed upon by the appropriate action group are:

  1. Disposable plastic cutlery
  2. All polystyrene packaging
  3. Cotton buds with plastic stems
  4. Plastic stirrers
  5. Plastic straws
  6. Oxo-degradables that break down to create microplastics
  7. PVC packaging
  8. Disposable plastic plates and bowls

A lot of progress has already been happening towards these targets by the 147 members who have signed up. Examples include Tesco reviewing every own brand packaging item and creating a preferred material; Boots switching their sushi trays to clear PET from blue for easing recycling; and M&S eliminating all PVC packaging.

Data for Success

It can be hard for many businesses to know where to start with these initiatives. Even if a clear packaging programme can be established, it can be just as difficult to measure and test the impact that it is having.

Good data is at the core of any target driven CSR approach. However this can be daunting due to the following reasons:

  • Lack of a good baseline data set
  • Challenges around data collection and the willingness of data sources to help facilitate this collection
  • Uncertainty on the data quality that is collected

Through working with WRAP as one of their data partners, Valpak can solve a number of these issues through their Insight Platform and extended data collection service offering. To help business achieve this in an efficient way we have expanded our existing Product Data Suite to summarise and display the data required to report against the Plastic Pact targets.

The UK Plastics Pact is playing a vital role towards improving the environment and minimising plastic pollution and reporting requirements should not deter businesses form being a part of such an important commitment.

If you want more information on the Plastics Pact and how the Insight Platform can help please come join our webinar on 16 June at 10am. Book your virtual seat here.

 

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.