A group of 42 UK businesses and retailers have pledged to put an end to single-use plastic packaging and voluntarily signed up to support a pact that aims to tackle plastic waste.

This ‘Plastics Pact’ is led by sustainability organisation WRAP in a bid to transform the plastic packaging system in the UK and reduce the amount of plastic that enters oceans every year.

Among the participants are food, drink and non-food brands, manufacturers and retailers, as well as plastic reprocessors and packaging suppliers.

They account for more than 80% of the plastic packaging on products sold by supermarkets in the UK.

These businesses, which include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose,  will work in partnership with the UK Government and NGOs to achieve several sustainable targets.

The pact will see the elimination of unnecessary single-use plastic packaging and the development of alternative delivery models by 2025.

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“Together, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink and reshape the future of plastic so that we retain its value and curtail the damage plastic waste wreaks on our planet.”

Industry leaders will also cooperate to ensure all their plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by the target year.

WRAP CEO Marcus Gover said: “Together, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink and reshape the future of plastic so that we retain its value and curtail the damage plastic waste wreaks on our planet.

“This requires a wholesale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act.”

Over the next seven years, companies will work to ensure that 70% of their plastic packaging gets recycled or composted and that all plastic packaging has 30% average recycled content.

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realised if government, businesses and the public work together. Industry action can prevent excess plastic reaching our supermarket shelves in the first place.”

In the past few months, plastic waste has become one of the most discussed topics both in the UK and elsewhere in the world thanks to growing media coverage and environmental campaigns.

The urgency to find a solution to plastic pollution recently prompted the UK Government to commit to cutting down plastic waste by 2042.