ISWA Signs Global Commitment to a New Plastics Economy

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s vision of a circular economy for plastic has now been signed by over 250 organisations

14 Dec 2018 -

By now, everyone is aware of the frightening prospect of more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Yet, as indicated by ISWA’s Marine Litter Task Force, the problems start long before plastic reaches our oceans, rivers and beaches, and so must the solutions.


The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, who have been at the forefront of the Circular Economy conversations for some time, have launched a bold and ambitious vision of an economy where plastic never becomes waste or pollution. They have called on the world’s leading organisations to back a commitment to this vision. Leading organisations including Veolia, WWF, WEF, Unilever etc. all join ISWA amongst the 250 names to back the commitment. 


The Commitment to a New Plastics Economy sets out an ambitious vision of a circular economy for plastic, where plastic never becomes waste. It focuses on the source of the pollution and considers solutions with profound economic, environmental, and societal benefits. It does this through considering consumption habits, design, innovation, reuse models, and other methods. The full vision is laid out here.


Expressing support for the strong vision of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the commitment was signed by ISWA President Antonis Mavropoulos earlier this year.


ISWA’s 2014 paper on plastics underlines the excessive and uncontrolled use of plastics which represent a significant hindrance to achieving a circular economy. An immediate and collective effort is urgently needed to avoid single-use plastics further polluting our oceans, food, eco-system, and being openly burnt in dumpsites. ISWA therefore fully supports the call from The New Plastics Economy.


The use of plastic in everyone’s daily lives is difficult to avoid as it offers unparalleled functionality – making its usage impossible to simply eradicate overnight. But with a global commitment, society can achieve this bold vision without any negative impact. This demands that all actors and stakeholders work together including manufacturers, designers and waste managers. ISWA has put together a series of concise recommendations which, if acted upon, would accelerate attempts to go circular with plastic.


ISWA therefore strongly endorse the vision of a circular economy for plastics, where plastics never become waste. ISWA recognises this vision offers a root cause solution to plastic pollution with profound economic, environmental, and societal benefits. The time to act is now.




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