With the launch of the ‘Pacto Português para os Plásticos on 4 February, Portugal has become the latest European member to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact.
The Portuguese Pact for Plastics is coordinated by Smart Waste Portugal Association, with the support of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Action, Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition, Ministry of the Sea, and the High Patronage of the Portuguese Republic.
The Plastics Pact network, comprised of UK, France, Chile, The Netherlands, and South Africa and now Portugal, brings together key stakeholders at the national or regional level to implement solutions towards a circular economy for plastics.
Currently, the national Portuguese pact boasts some 23 members, including major food and beverage retailing brands and manufacturing industry recyclers, and an additional 24 organisations, including universities, non-profit organisations, business associations, and the government.
All have joined forces on a collaborative and innovative platform, striving for a circular economy in which plastic never becomes waste or pollution.
“From medicine to transport, from smartphones to packaging, plastics are very important for ensuring our quality of life. However, we cannot turn a blind eye to the negative consequences of plastics on the environment, especially packaging and single-use plastics,” said Aires Pereira, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Smart Waste Portugal Association.
Evertis Ibérica, manufacturers of mono and multilayer semi-rigid barrier films for food and other packaging applications, was one of the founding members who signed the Pact on 4 February.
“We are working towards promoting the circularity of plastics, and in particular PET trays, and we strongly believe in these types of initiatives,” the company said. Another signatory, the multinational Sonae, commented that ‘fostering a responsible use of plastic is one of our primary focuses’. “It is urgent to develop broader initiatives that allow for the development of more sustainable production, logistics and consumption processes,” Isabel Barros, head of Sonae Companies Consulting Group, stressed.
The Portuguese Plastics Pact members have committed to a number of ambitious targets, which include:
- Defining a list of single-use plastic items deemed problematic or unnecessary and the measures for their elimination, through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models by the end of 2020;
- Ensuring that 100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable;
- Increasing collections so that at least 70% of plastic packaging is effectively recycled;
- Incorporating, on average, 30% of recycled plastic in new plastic packaging. Promoting consumer awareness and education activities (current and future) for the sustainable use of plastics.
João Pedro Matos Fernandes, minister of Environment and Climate Action, said the commitment “that results from this pact goes beyond the law that we have and the law that we will have”. He ended with a call for this Pact to be “the beginning of a great revolution in the national plastic industry”.