2023 Outlook: Net Zero Plastic to Nature necessary to tackle Plastic Pollution

Plastic is expected to outweigh fish in the sea by 2050; 79% of plastic waste is still ending up in landfills and oceans; yet only 9% of plastic is recycled worldwide. Jeremy Alun-Jones, COO of Cibus Capital LLP and Director of The Summer Berry Company (‘TBSCo’), outlines why ‘Net Zero Plastic to Nature’ should be embraced by every player in the producer to consumer supply chain now:

  1. It’s realistic. Net Zero Plastic to Nature isn’t anti-plastic, it recognises that plastic can still be used responsibly in a circular economy, providing all of it is recycled.
  2. It acknowledges that plastics help to address the food waste problem. Some alternatives are unfortunately not yet as effective as plastic in preserving food across long journeys.
  3. It drives demand for recycling solutions from the bottom-up. Producers in the supply chain will have to switch to recycled plastic, driving demand for competition in the recycling industry, moving more finance towards this sector and spurring innovation for alternatives to virgin plastic as well as recycling techniques.

Jeremy Alun-Jones said: “Whilst we were delighted to see the increasing recognition of the need to tackle the climate impact of our agricultural and food system, it was disappointing that plastic pollution was not a key theme at COP27 this year. Society places a huge demand on the world’s biggest plastic polluters for their products but has failed to build the circular systems that can tackle the plastic waste problem. The potentially game-changing Extended Producer Responsibility, an incentivisation to meaningfully minimise packaging, has been delayed to at least 2024, and our supermarket shelves are still lined with ‘Not yet recyclable’ plastic-wrapped products. It is imperative that all players in the supply chain commit to transition to 100% recycled plastic. Policymakers, consumers, producers, retailers and wholesalers all have a role to play in embracing Net Zero Plastic to Nature and putting an end to plastic waste for good.”

Georgina Thomas, Senior ESG Associate at Cibus Capital LLP, added: “One of the eleven impact objectives set out in Cibus’ impact strategy is to reduce waste and increase the circularity of our agricultural and food systems. Cibus has supported TSBCo in their efforts to reduce waste. Today, the company has reduced their plastic waste by 11% (23 tonnes) and 100% of their obsolete plastic waste is now recycled and sold rather than sent to landfill. We will jointly continue to look for ways to minimise contribution to plastic waste going forward.”