Food and Drink Companies Likely to Fall Short of their Plastic Sustainability Goals

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by KnowESG

A report on the progress of the New Plastic Economy Global Commitment says that many food and drink companies are not likely to meet their goals for making their plastic packaging more sustainable by 2025.

The New Plastic Economy Global Commitment was started in 2018 by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its goal is to make plastic part of a circular economy so that it never becomes waste or pollution. More than 500 organisations signed the pledge to use less new plastic and switch to packaging that can be reused, recycled, or composted by 2025.

In the progress report, it was found that across all industries, the amount of new plastic was back up to where it was in 2018.

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Several of the biggest food and drink companies are using more plastic packaging than when they signed the commitment. The Coca-Cola Company used 3% more packaging made of new plastic in 2021 than it did in 2019.

PepsiCo, Inc. increased its use by 5% while Mars, Inc. increased its use by 11%. The largest increases came from McCormick & Co., Inc. (22%), Ferrara (32%) and Mondelez International, Inc. (44%).

The biggest drop was at Unilever, which used 18% less virgin plastic in 2021 than in 2019. Keurig Dr. Pepper cut its use of virgin plastic by 4%, while Danone and Nestlé both cut their use by about 8%.

Compared to the 2021 progress report, the EMF found that companies like Mars, Kellogg Co., and McCain Foods used less packaging that could be reused, recycled, or broken down into compost. Danone and Keurig Dr. Pepper both increased the amount of this kind of packaging they used by 7 and 8%, respectively.

“The latest findings demonstrate the need to urgently ramp up efforts,” said Sander Defruyt, the EMF’s plastic initiative lead. “Credible, ambitious plans are needed from businesses to scale reuse, to deal with the issue of flexible packaging and to reduce the need for single-use packaging.”

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Source: Food Business News


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