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BALI, Indonesia. October 30, 2018. A global commitment to eradicate plastic waste and pollution at source has been signed by 290 organisations including the world’s largest packaging producers, brands, retailers and recyclers, as well as governments and NGOs.

The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment, was officially unveiled at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali this week.

Signatories include companies representing 20 percent of all plastic packaging produced globally including Danone, H&M, L’Oréal, Mars Incorporated, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Unilever plus major packaging producer Amcor and plastics producer Novamont.

TOC Aerial Expedition Ocean Force One 1280More than 15 financial institutions with over US$2.5 trillion in assets under management have endorsed the Global Commitment and over US$200 million has been pledged by five venture capital funds to create a circular economy for plastic.

The initiative is also supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature and the CEO-led Consumer Goods Forum, representing 400 retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries plus 40 universities, institutions and academics.

The Global Commitment aims to create "a new normal" for plastic packaging by moving from single-use to reuse packaging models; ensure 100 percent of plastic packaging can be easily and safely reused, recycled, composted or remade into new packaging or products by 2025.

Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Dame Ellen MacArthur said: “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. We need to move upstream to the source of the flow.

“This is just one step on what will be a challenging journey, but one which can lead to huge benefits for society, the economy and the environment. I encourage all businesses and governments to go further and embark on a race to the top in the creation of a circular economy for plastic. One in which this material never becomes waste or pollution," she added.

According to recent data, eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans every year and there are currently 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that covers 1.6 million square kilometres - three times the size of France.

Cost to the marine environment is conservatively estimated at US$13 billion a year. The top five plastic polluting countries are China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

(Pictured: 'Ocean Force One', a former military C130 converted into a research platform to conduct aerial surveys of the garbage patch.)

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