You read that correctly. The World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation believe that if current levels of plastic waste continue uncurbed then potentially, there will be more plastics than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050. The shocking assertion has been presented alongside a report that sets out a global action plan for change.
Endorsed by 40 packaging industry leaders, the plan was presented at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos and aims to get rates for recycling plastic packaging up from 14% to 70% globally.
Re-use and recycling makes sense for both ecological and commercial reasons. Interestingly, The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing Action report notes that 20% of plastic packaging could be profitably re-used and 50% of plastic packaging could be profitably recycled. Re-use and recycling are often seen as necessary responsibilities, rarely are they seen as profitable solutions. However, the report sets out that with some improvements to the packaging design and after-use management systems, producers and recyclers could net an additional US$90 to US$140 per tonne of mixed plastics. Even the remaining 30% of plastic packaging (the equivalent of 10 billion garbage bags per year) that is destined for landfill, with fundamental redesign and innovation, could be recycled.
In Amnet’s blog Go Green the importance of packaging design for use, reuse and recycling is discussed as an important part of a brand’s story. The report emphasizes this too. No manufacturer or company wants to be part of the non-biodegradable waste narrative. To that end the report sets out a transition strategy for better package design. As Martin R. Stuchtey, Professor for Resource Strategy and Management at Innsbruck University and report contributor comments: “Minor changes in material, format and treatment, in conjunction, can make the economics of recycling viable and take us into a positive spiral of higher yields, lower costs and better design. The result will be plastic that remains a valuable material before and after use.”
It’s a positive message that’s seems to be gathering momentum across the industry, not least because the changes are relatively simple. As Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of Ellen MacArthur Foundation comments: “The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing Action provides a clear plan for redesigning the global plastics system, paving the way for concerted action.”
The change begins with the need to design better packaging. Amnet is a specialist in this area and has the necessary expertise to understand and implement the suggested design improvements. If this is something from which your business would like to benefit, please contact Amnet today.