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A new system for plastics

If we do nothing, plastic waste will overtake our world. The circular economy can help us stop this happening.


Plastic pollution is a huge challenge to our environment and the future health of our planet. At the current rate, by 2050 there could be more plastic in our oceans than fish. 

In response to this threat, the UN has signed a historic treaty to attempt to tackle our plastics problem. It cites the circular economy as a means to combat the waste and pollution caused by plastics, and create a cleaner and greener global system. 

In a circular economy, single-use plastics would be drastically reduced and biodegradable or reusable alternatives would be used in their place. Business would commit to reducing plastic in packaging, and introduce new biomaterials in its place where packaging is still needed. 

This alone would be a huge step towards reducing the impact of plastic waste in our environment, which could double by 2040 if we don’t change from our current system.

But circular economy thinking goes further, designing out waste through new thinking and innovation. 

One major aim of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a leading advocate of circular economy change, is that the use of plastic is fully decoupled from the consumption of finite resources.

This means no “virgin inputs” in plastics at all. The plastic we have in circulation should be used and reused, and the energy to shape it into the forms we need should all be renewable, too. 

Reuse models will be adopted on an industrial scale, meaning that every business involved in plastics will work together along the value chain, to make resource wastage minimal. Governments across the globe will collaborate to ensure the plastic problem is reduced through funding and regulation.

A renewed system for plastics will benefit both the environment and the economy. Less waste means more efficiencies for business, and making the most of finite resources will reduce the unpredictability of inputs. 

As the first strategic financial services partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Intesa Sanpaolo is also committed to making the circular economy for plastic a reality.

It makes sense for both the planet and business. 

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