a lone waste management worker walks toward a pile of plastic waste

The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment launched this week, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment. International companies, NGOs, and governments all pledged to eliminate plastic waste.

Packaging New Zealand has commented on the pride it feels toward its global members who signed the Commitment, with executive director Sharon Humphreys stating she hopes the initiative will lead to a more balanced view of packaging solutions in New Zealand.

The Commitment will require signing parties to keep records of actions they take toward the goal of being 100 percent plastic free. This will provide a platform for local businesses to measure sustained improvement in the absence of a national plan for waste management.

“Critical to the success of the commitment is acknowledgement that ‘context’ plays a central role in determining overall success,” said Humphreys. “Packaging New Zealand has long argued that there is a clear need for flexibility to ensure that progress is not paralysed by pursuit of impractical, unviable or unsustainable solutions. These would be clearly recognised if we had a national plan for waste management and recycling.”

Humphreys went on to explain that New Zealanders see much of the worst of plastic pollution, given the current level of sea plastic and the impact this has on the coastal environment. She hoped this perspective wouldn’t prevent consumers and businesses from seeing the ‘goodness’ of plastic packaging. “We must be vigilant to opportunities to optimise the good and eliminate the bad,” she said.

The Commitment can be found on social media via the hashtag #LineInTheSand.