16 Dec 2019
Online retailer Asos has signed up to Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, a global initiative rallying more than 400 businesses and governments behind a positive vision of a circular economy for plastics, in which it never becomes waste or pollution.
London-based Asos is the principal online retailer to sign the pledge and has made its own “ambitious commitments” on plastic packaging with four pledges, including eliminating problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging by 2025, with 50 percent of ASOS’ own-brand packaging to be eliminated by 2025, against a 2018 baseline.
In addition, Asos is to move from single-use plastic towards reuse models where relevant by 2025, with a reusable packaging trial starting in 2020, testing a bespoke prototype mailing bag Asos has been developing for the past year.
Asos has also pledged to make 100 percent of its packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. While Asos' packaging is already 100 percent recyclable in principle, the brand added that it will work to make sure it is 100 percent recyclable “in practice,” accounting for local recycling infrastructure constraints.
The final pledge is to make 100 percent recycled or renewable content used in plastic packaging by 2025, with at least 30 percent of this being made up of post-consumer waste. Asos notes that it will work to “further encourage customers to return packaging back” to the retailer, so it can recycle it into new Asos packaging through a system introduced this year to ‘close the loop’ on packaging.
Alongside these four commitments, Asos has already been making its plastic mailing bags 100 percent recyclable and made from 25 percent recycled material, which Asos states will transition to 65 percent in 2020.
The online retailer has also committed to taking a shared leadership approach within the e-commerce sector in order to advance industry best-practice, and to extend the knowledge that Asos gains to its brand partners.
Simon Platts, responsible sourcing director at Asos, said in a statement: “We’ve been working hard to reduce our use of plastic across Asos, including investing in developing our Asos mailing bags, which will contain 65 percent recycled material in the new year and are already 100 percent recyclable.
“However, there’s always more we can do, which is why we’ve become a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy Global Commitment. This formalises our commitment to reducing our use of plastic, through measures such as increasing the amount of used Asos bags we recycle into new packaging and introducing a reusable packaging trial in the early months of 2020.”
As signatories to Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, Asos has committed to three actions to realise this vision: eliminate all problematic and unnecessary plastic items; innovate to ensure that the plastics we do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable; and circulate all the plastic items we use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.
Sander Defruyt, lead of the New Plastics Economy initiative at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, added: “The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment unites businesses, governments and others behind a clear vision of a circular economy for plastic. We are pleased Asos is joining us, by setting concrete 2025 targets.
“Our vision is for a world where plastic never becomes waste or pollution. It will be a challenging journey, but by coming together we can eliminate the plastics we don’t need and innovate, so the plastics we do need can be safely and easily circulated – keeping them in the economy and out of the environment.”
Asos is also a participant of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative, a collaboration between industry leaders to create a textiles economy that will ultimately benefit business, society and the environment.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative is supported by more than 400 companies and organisations including H&M, Burberry, Apple, Coca-Cola Company, L’Oréal, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, and Walmart.
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Images: courtesy of Asos