The University of Edinburgh signs 'New Plastics Economy' global commitment

The global commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur foundation, seeks to eliminate plastic pollution at the source. The commitment has been signed by many of the world’s largest packaging producers, brands, retailers and recyclers, as well as governments and NGOs.


The University of Edinburgh is one of 250 organisations to support the Global Commitment and its vision for a circular economy for plastic. Signatories include companies representing 20% of all plastic packaging produced globally.

The Global Commitment aims to create ‘a new normal’ for plastic packaging. Targets will be reviewed every 18 months, and become increasingly ambitious over the coming years. Businesses that sign the commitment will publish annual data on their progress to help drive momentum and ensure transparency.


Every sector and every business has a place in a circular economy. Doing so often requires new ways of working. Organisations need to work together to identify opportunities and figure out how to deliver them – universities play a key role in this area.

Kate FitzpatrickWaste Manager

Targets include:

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and move from single-use to reuse packaging models
  • Innovate to ensure 100% of plastic packaging can be easily and safely reused, recycled, or composted by 2025
  • Circulate the plastic produced, by significantly increasing the amounts of plastics reused or recycled and made into new packaging or products

Eliminating unnecessary and problematic plastics is an essential part of the Global Commitment vision, and will make it easier to keep remaining plastics in the economy and out of the environment.


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. The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment draws a line in the sand, with businesses, governments and others around the world uniting behind a clear vision for what we need to create a circular economy for plastic. 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.

Dame Ellen MacArthurFounder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation


Find out more about the circular economy at the University