Ahold Delhaize is joining nearly 300 organizations worldwide in pledging to eradicate plastic waste and pollution at the source. The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, signed by packaging producers, retailers and recyclers representing 20% of all plastic packaging produced globally, was officially unveiled yesterday at a conference in Bali.
At the heart of the commitment is a vision of a circular economy for plastic in which it never becomes waste. Led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment, the commitment focuses on three key targets:
- Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and move from single-use to reuse packaging models
- Innovate to ensure 100% of plastic packaging can be easily and safely reused, recycled or composted by 2025
- Circulate the plastic produced by significantly increasing the amounts of plastics reused or recycled and made into new packaging or products
The commitment aims to create a “new normal” for plastic packaging. Businesses that sign it will publish annual data on their progress to help drive momentum and ensure transparency.
“There is tremendous potential for innovation in the transition to more recyclable and reusable plastics,” said Megan Hellstedt, VP of Sustainable Retailing for Ahold Delhaize, who recently shared her insights about the future of sustainability at the company. “We are proud to be part of an initiative that will make it easier to design more sustainable packaging and reduce plastic waste.”
“We know that cleaning up plastics from our beaches and oceans is vital, but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year,” said Ellen MacArthur, Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “We need to move upstream to the source of the flow. The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment draws a line in the sand, with businesses, governments and others around the world uniting behind a clear vision for what we need to create a circular economy for plastic.”
In addition to Ahold Delhaize, signatories include consumer businesses such as Danone, H&M Group, L’Oreal, Mars, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Unilever, along with major packing producers like Amcor, plastics producers such as Novamont, and resource management specialist Veolia.
The local brands of Ahold Delhaize are continuing to take steps to bring the commitment to sustainability to life. Albert Heijn, for example, pledged last month to make all own-brand packaging recyclable by 2025 while reducing the material used by 20%. Earlier this year, Delhaize Serbia took a bold step in being the first major Serbian retailer to charge for single-use bags. And a Giant store in Pennsylvania was recently recognized for achieving two consecutive quarters of zero waste.