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The New Plastics Economy

February 2, 2016

The New Plastics Economy - Rethinking the Future of Plastics
The New Plastics Economy – Rethinking the Future of Plastics

The New Plastics Economy – Rethinking the Future of Plastics

A report by Project Mainstream, an initiative by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, World Economic Forum and McKinsey & Company

Circular Economy – Reduce Impact – Increase Prosperity

The circular economy is gaining growing attention as a potential way for our society to increase prosperity, while reducing demands on finite raw materials and minimising negative externalities. Such a transition requires a systemic approach, which entails moving beyond incremental improvements to the existing model as well as developing new collaboration mechanisms.

Reengineering the Plastics Value Chain

The report explores the intersection of these two themes, for plastics and plastic packaging in particular: how can collaboration along the extended global plastic packaging production and after-use value chain, as well as with governments and NGOs, achieve systemic change to overcome stalemates in today’s plastics economy in order to move to a more circular model?

Action for Economic & Environmental Benefits

The New Plastics Economy aims to set an initial direction and contribute to the evidence base by synthesising information from across many dispersed sources. It assesses the benefits and drawbacks of plastic packaging today, and makes the case for rethinking the current plastics economy. It lays out the ambitions and benefits of the New Plastics Economy — a system aiming to achieve drastically better economic and environmental outcomes. It proposes a new approach and action plan to get there.

Presenting a Vision, Proposing a Roadmap

The report’s objective is not to provide final answers or recommendations. Rather, it aims to bring together for the first time a comprehensive global perspective of the broader plastic packaging economy, present a vision and propose a roadmap as well as a vehicle for progressing this roadmap, and providing a much needed global focal point to carry this agenda forward.

Project Mainstream – The Start

This report also identifies a number of significant knowledge gaps and open questions that need to be further explored. This report is the product of Project MainStream, an initiative that leverages the convening power of the World Economic Forum, the circular economy innovation capabilities of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and the analytical capabilities of McKinsey & Company. We are grateful to our numerous partners and advisors for their insights and support throughout this project, and the Project MainStream Steering Board for their continued collaboration on the transition towards a circular economy.

Accelerating the Transition to a Circular Economy

For the three institutions that have launched the Project MainStream initiative, this report is an encouragement to continue to foster cross-industry collaboration as a major avenue to accelerate the transition to the much needed circular economy. We hope you find this report informative and useful. We invite you to engage with us on this timely opportunity.

Recycled from The New Plastics Economy Report