Some of the world’s biggest brands have signed up to an ambitious, voluntary commitment to reduce plastic pollution, called the UK Plastics Pact.

A total of 42 businesses — including the likes of Unilever, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, and Coca-Cola — have promised to reduce packaging and increase recycling over the next seven years.

The companies are between them responsible for 80% of plastic packaging sold through UK supermarkets — with grocers Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons all agreeing to it.

In addition, 15 other organisations have also signed up to the pact.

Scroll down for the plastic pact full list

However, some environmental groups have warned over the voluntary nature, saying government action will be needed to make sure the promises are kept.

The pact has set out a list of goals that each firm must achieve by 2025:

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models
  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging

The UK Government previously announced a long-term plan to reduce plastic waste over the next 25 years but much of the recent action has been spurred on by the popular BBC’s Blue Planet II TV show, which depicted images of pollution.

Sustainability campaign group Wrap is behind the initiative. Its chief executive 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 wholescale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act.

That is what makes the UK plastics pact unique. It unites every body, business and organisation with a will to act on plastic pollution. We will never have a better time to act, and together we can.

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

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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.

I am delighted to see so many businesses sign up to this pact and I hope others will soon follow suit.

Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, added:

We all have a role to play in reducing the amount of plastics used in society. For our part we accept our responsibilities and are working hard to reduce the use of plastic across our business.

The pact is also supported by Ellen MacArthur, the yachtswoman who broke the solo record for sailing around the world in 2005. Her foundation has long campaigned for plastic products to be re-used and not allowed to enter the oceans.

Research conducted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found 95% of plastic packaging around the world is used only once.

Plastic pact full list: All the companies and organisations involved

  • AB Sports Nutrition
  • AB World Foods
  • ABP
  • Aldi
  • Allied Milling & Baking
  • Apetito
  • Aquapak
  • Arla
  • Asda
  • Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA)
  • Birdseye
  • British Plastics Federation
  • British Retail Consortium
  • Britvic
  • Business in the Community
  • CleanTech
  • Coca-Cola
  • Common Seas
  • Cranswick
  • Danone
  • Defra
  • Dunbia
  • Ecover
  • Ella’s Kitchen
  • Environmental Services Association
  • Faerch Plast
  • Food and Drink Federation
  • Greiner Packaging
  • Highland Spring
  • Incpen
  • Innocent
  • Jayplas
  • Jordans, Dorset and Ryvita
  • Keep Britain Tidy
  • Lidl
  • Lucozade Ribena Suntory
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Morrisons
  • Nestle
  • Novamont
  • Ocado
  • On-Pack Recycling Label
  • P&G
  • PepsiCo
  • Pizza Hut
  • Plastipak
  • Premier Foods
  • Pret A Manger
  • RECOUP
  • Resource Association
  • SABIC
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Scottish Government
  • Silverspoon
  • Soil Association
  • Speedibake
  • SUEZ
  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Tesco
  • The Recycling Association
  • UK Hospitality
  • Unilever
  • Valpak
  • Veolia
  • Viridor
  • Waitrose
  • Welsh Government
  • Westmill