Colombia launches national plastics pact to facilitate plastic circularity

COLOMBIA – Colombia has launched a Plastics Pact to tackle the environmental impacts of plastics and support international work developing a circular economy for plastics, becoming the second Latin American country to do so.

The Colombia Plastics Pact was developed and launched through a partnership between The Business Commitment to Recycling (CEMPRE) and The Waste and Research Action Programme (WRAP) with the support of UK Research and Innovation.

Colombia will aim to eliminate problematic and unnecessary plastic and transform all plastic packaging to reusable, recyclable or compostable formats.

The government will also work to increase the country’s plastic recycling rate to 50% and the average recycled content of plastic packaging to 30%.

David Rogers, WRAP’s international director says that he is “extremely optimistic” about the situation in Colombia and the country’s newly established plastics pact.

“Tackling plastic pollution requires a collaborative joint approach between businesses, policymakers and citizens and the Pact will provide the mechanism for driving real, long-term change,” asserts Rogers.

“The Colombian Plastics Pact joins a growing network of pacts around the world. This network allows us to share ideas and solutions and increase the speed of change.”

The launch comes at a time when over 700,500 tonnes of plastic packaging and containers enter the domestic market in Colombia every year, with only 3% reincorporated back into packaging, according to WRAP.

The Colombia Plastics Pact is said to address this discrepancy and drive forward the move to a more circular economy for plastic by working across the packaging value chain and bringing together key players, including packaging companies, producers, traders, processors, academia, trade associations, NGOs and the government in a shared vision.

Laura Reyes, executive director of CEMPRE noted: “The circular economy is the model that recognizes the environmental and social value as fundamental axes of the sustainable development of countries and their territories.

“There are a number of benefits in promoting the circular economy to value chains, from improving the design of products and promoting different forms of consumption to encouraging labor and business formality and valuing the real cost of the products we consume.”

The Pact has recruited major businesses operating in Colombia, including Nestlé, Carvajal, Coca-Cola, Plastisol, Jerónimo Martins, Grupo Plastilene, Xiclo and Resiter and support from Acoplásticos, The Consumer Goods Forum, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the University of Los Andes, Chile.

Businesses will work toward a series of science-based targets to reduce the impact that plastic has in the country and develop a more circular approach to the commercial use of plastic.

WRAP highlights that the Colombia Plastics Pact will strengthen the growing network of international Plastic Pacts at a key moment when plastics initiatives – delivered locally and supported by WRAP, the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, become more closely aligned through a global knowledge-sharing network.

The NGO claims Colombia will benefit from the wealth of experience from initiatives in countries including France, the UK, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, the US, Canada, Chile, South Africa, India, Kenya and regions including the EU and Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

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