APP has 10 Core Beliefs that guide our decisions and help us prioritise where we believe we can make change happen the fastest.
1. The power of simple
APP’s believes in plain speaking. It’s either plastic, or it’s not plastic. Somehow plastic has become a very complicated issue and it suits those that don’t want change to complicate it even further. Our goal is to bring a straight-talking clarity to the world of plastic, using language that everyone relates to. Bravo for plain English!
2. Single-minded focus: food and drink
Of all the plastic made in the world in 2015, approximately 40% was used for packaging and nearly half of this for food and drink. We only need to open our fridges to see our involuntary, and total addiction to plastic. APP is only focused on plastics used for food and drink packaging which APP believes is the wrong use of this miracle material. APP is not focused on plastics that are used in any other sector including health, aviation, and communications where it saves lives every day and makes modern life possible.
3. We must not demonise plastic
Decades ago, man invented a miracle material and it is now called plastic. This material is extraordinary because it is really a bi-product from fossil fuels; extremely adaptable, flexible and there are hundreds of different permutations of polymers for different and now essential uses. Plastic is also indestructible; dangerous when released into the environment with far reaching possible health affects to many species including humans. Over the last few decades plastid has become the default material for far too many uses; including the totally erroneous use for packaging our food and drink. At the same time, plastic has been disrespected and rather than treated as a valuable material is treated like disposable rubbish.
4. We represent the public
Our campaigns are simply about giving the public choice. Right now we have no choice but to buy our supermarket groceries wrapped in plastic. In an age when we are given choice for everything – fat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free – we would like the choice to buy plastic-free.
5. No blame, no guilt
We are all plastic addicts. We have all created this plastic pollution disaster together. This is not a time for finger pointing. We have sleepwalked into this self-made nightmare and we now need to fast-track out of it. Together. We call for collaboration between all supermarkets, brands and industry. Let us not just consider competitive advantage but open source all new solutions so we can work together to accelerate the pace of essential change.
6. Recycling is not working
At our current rates, recycling does not reduce plastic pollution and we cannot recycle our way out of the problem. Recycling may even provide false comfort: ‘It’s OK to buy plastic at our current rates because it’s recycled’. Even if every household recycled and state-of-the-art recycling systems existed (neither is true) recycling simply cannot keep up with the sheer volume that is produced, bought, and thrown away every day. Instead of increasing recycling rates, APP focuses on the use of highly recycled materials such as glass, card and metal, and compostable biomaterials.
7. There should be no such thing as waste
Right now we start the manufacturing process with ‘resource management’; then we make something, we use it, and then we dispose of it through waste management sytems including recycling, landfill, incineration and sometimes, industrial composting. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could change our attitude to waste management, even change the name to RESOURCE MANAGEMENT? A better circle would be: Source, Manufacture, Use .. and back to Source again. This is why we are so keen that the UK explores the use of compostable biomaterials for packaging which can return valuable nourishment back to agricultural soils. Building a state of the art nationwide industrial composting infrastructure needs a seismic shift in our waste management thinking and substantial government investment. But right now, the UK spends half per capita on waste management than other European countries. We are dealing with waste on the cheap. And it is coming back to haunt us.
8. The soil-to-soil cycle
In 2060 it is predicted that there will be insufficient nutrients in our topsoil to grow our crops in the UK. Europe predictions are similar. We need to invest in our soil urgently. Rather than criticise and fear the introduction of compostable packaging materials to replace dangerous plastic; wouldn't it be a positive revolution to radically reinvent our entire waste management system and go back to the very original 'Circular Economy'? One that uses agricultural waste to create packaging for our food; that is then thrown away with our food waste to be collected (vital piece of the puzzle); treated properly in an integrated AD and Industrial Composting framework and then used to carry nutrients back into our hungry soil ... that we then grow our food in and the circle continues? The 'circular economy' was always thus; until we broke the circle through the industrial revolution. It is not a new concept. The recycling of plastic, especially that used for food, does not fit into a circular economy as it is always downcycled and mostly eventually ends up in the environment. The circle for plastic is always a downward spiral.
9. Everyone has a right to plastic-free – it is not a luxury
We believe the Plastic Free food is not a luxury item. We believe it must be universally accessible for everyone’s budget and pocket.
10. Taxing plastic is a red herring. Carrot legislation is a game changer
APP does not believe in taxing plastic packaging as the sole solution to wean us off conventional plastic. Taxing tobacco and alcohol companies did not reduce smoking or drinking; it did however provide the government with a sizeable and dependable revenue stream that is difficult to walk away from. Taxing companies using plastic packing will be even less effective because plastic is so cheap and customers will absorb the costs through higher food prices.

Instead, APP believes a better way is to reward companies that do not use plastic packaging through tax breaks: The carrot, not the stick. Not only do positive incentives act as powerful levers for change, they can also inspire more thoughtful change. If a tax on the manufacturers and brands using plastic must be introduced, let it be visible and invested into a 21st century waste management system rather than disappear into the Treasury coffers.