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A Slice of Green A Warne AB Packaging Abaca Packaging Ah! Table! Algalife Algopack Algotek All 4 Labels Allied Glass Amipak Amphorea Amy Jade Creations Ardagh Group Ardalanish Arjowiggins Astu Eco AVANI BagasseWare Baker Labels Bakergoodchild Ball Bambu BASF Beatson Clark Best Practice Packaging LLC. Better Packaging Billerwkorsnas Bio Bag UK Bio Viron Bio4Life Bio4Pack BIOFASE Biome Plastics Biopac Biopak Biopap BioTAK Biotec Biotrem Butterfly Cup Bysshe CamVac Carapac Carters Packaging Cartulinas CMPC Celanese Cellcomb Chapelton Board CKF Clondalkin Coburger Cocccon Cocoform Cocolok Coconutbowls Coir Lanka Cole Fabrics Colombier Colourform Colpac Comp Bio COSIBRA Cotton Barons Coveris Covim Creapaper Crown Holdings Croxsons Glass Cullen Cupffee Cygnus Eco Danimer Scientific Dans Le Sac Decent Packaging Delipac Dempson Do Eat Do Your Bit Down2Earth DUNI Earth Distributors Earth Friendly Foodware Earthable ® Earths Tribe East Kent Cartons East Yorkshire Hemp Eco Safe Eco Tensil Ecofoil Ecological Textiles Ecomojiware Ecotainer Elevate Packaging ElPack Emerald City Enviro Textiles Enviropack Enviropak Envopap Ethical Ernie Evesham EVLON Evoware Fabri-Kal FF Packaging Fibre Bio Fibre Form Fibrepak Fleet Luxury Flexi-Hex Floreon Fold-Pak Footprint Four Eco Foxpak Friendlypak Frusack Futamura Gaia Biomaterials Good Life Grado Zero Innovation Graphic Packaging Green Cell Green Gate Green Sax Greenman Packaging HAVI Healthy Eco Hemp Black, Inc Hemp Fabric Lab Hemporium Herbal Fab Himalayan Wild Fibres Hugh Jordan Huhtamaki Hunter Luxury Huski Home Huskup I2R Iggesund InkReadible International Paper James Cropper Jardin Corrugated Jars Direct Jelld Packaging Jerry Just Straw KANEKA Karmic Seed KeCo KINYI Kotkamills Lactips Lean Orb Lenzing Libeco LignoPure Little Cherry Little Green Panda Loliware London Bio Packaging Magic Film Magnum Packaging Maibao Maistic Make Grow Lab Marinatex Marleys Monsters Massilly UK Ltd Masteroast Metsa Board Monadnock Mushroom Packaging My Element Myco Works National Flexible Natur Tec Nature & My Nature Works (Ingeo) Natureflex Naturesse NEFFA Nettle Fibre Company noissue NOTPLA Novamont Nutscene O Eco Textiles O-I Glass Offset Offset Warehouse OOMPH! Orange Fibre Organic Silks ORGANOID Packhelp Pactiv Panda Packaging Paper Pulp Solutions Paper Straw People PaperFoam PaperWise Paptic Parkside Pattesons Glass Ltd Pick Natural Pinatex Planglow Plant Made Bottles Plastiroll (Bioska) Precious Planet Priory Press Ptt MCC Biochem Pulp2Pack PURE Labels QMilk Quintessential Ranpak RawPac RBECO Reel Brands Repaq ReSpiin Riji KCC SABERT Samatoa Lotus Textiles Sana Packaging Sappi SBKG Scitech Seaman Paper Seidentraum SFI Tanzania Shredhouse Ltd Simplifi Fabric Sirane SmartSolve SMC Smurfkit Kappa Solublue Soul Bottles Southern Cross Packaging Spear Coco Spinnova Starlight Sticky Labels Stolzle Glass Group Stora Enso Storopack Sun Packaging Sunkea Surepak Suzano Swanline Taghleef Industries Tea Direct Terracaps Tessile Eco Bio Test Valley The Cloth House The Great British Paper Straw Company The Hemp Shop The Jute Shop The Wheat Straws Company Thought Threads of Peru Tinplate Tinware Direct TIPA Total Papers Trama Textiles Transcend Packaging Transpack Tri-Star Tulsack Turtle Bags Tyler Packaging UB Pack USO Bio VEGEA Vegware Viscose Visican Voidfill VPZ Walki Westfield Thermoform Wild Fibres Wild Silk Markets Wilkins Wool Cool YRG Group Yuggen Zeoform Zest Packaging ZS Fabrics
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Europe
A Slice of Green A Warne AB Packaging Ah! Table! Algalife Algopack Allied Glass Amipak Amphorea Ardagh Group Ardalanish Arjowiggins Baker Labels Bakergoodchild Ball BASF Beatson Clark Billerwkorsnas Bio Bag UK Bio Viron Bio4Life Bio4Pack BIOFASE Biome Plastics Biopac Biopap BioTAK Biotec Biotrem Butterfly Cup Bysshe CamVac Carters Packaging Cellcomb Chapelton Board CKF Clondalkin Coburger Cocccon Cocoform Cocolok Coconutbowls Cole Fabrics Colourform Colpac Comp Bio Cotton Barons Covim Creapaper Cullen Cupffee Cygnus Eco Delipac Dempson Do Eat Do Your Bit Down2Earth DUNI Earth Friendly Foodware East Kent Cartons East Yorkshire Hemp Ecofoil Ecological Textiles ElPack Enviropack Enviropak Ethical Ernie Evesham FF Packaging Fibre Bio Fibre Form Fibrepak Fleet Luxury Flexi-Hex Floreon Four Eco Foxpak Frusack Gaia Biomaterials Good Life Grado Zero Innovation Green Cell Green Gate Green Sax Greenman Packaging HAVI Hugh Jordan Huhtamaki Hunter Luxury Huski Home Huskup I2R Iggesund InkReadible James Cropper Jardin Corrugated Jars Direct Jelld Packaging Jerry Just Straw KeCo Kotkamills Lactips Lenzing Libeco LignoPure Little Cherry London Bio Packaging Magnum Packaging Maistic Make Grow Lab Marinatex Massilly UK Ltd Masteroast Metsa Board My Element National Flexible Nature & My Natureflex Naturesse NEFFA Nettle Fibre Company NOTPLA Novamont Nutscene O Eco Textiles O-I Glass Offset Offset Warehouse OOMPH! Orange Fibre Organic Silks ORGANOID Packhelp Panda Packaging Paper Pulp Solutions Paper Straw People PaperFoam PaperWise Paptic Parkside Pattesons Glass Ltd Pinatex Planglow Plant Made Bottles Plastiroll (Bioska) Precious Planet Priory Press QMilk Quintessential RawPac RBECO Reel Brands Repaq ReSpiin Riji KCC SABERT Scitech Shredhouse Ltd Sirane SMC Smurfkit Kappa Solublue Soul Bottles Southern Cross Packaging Spinnova Starlight Sticky Labels Stolzle Glass Group Stora Enso Storopack Sun Packaging Surepak Swanline Tea Direct Terracaps Tessile Eco Bio Test Valley The Cloth House The Hemp Shop The Wheat Straws Company Tinplate Tinware Direct Transcend Packaging Transpack Tri-Star Turtle Bags Tyler Packaging USO Bio VEGEA Vegware Viscose Visican Voidfill VPZ Westfield Thermoform Wild Fibres Wilkins Wool Cool YRG Group Yuggen Zest Packaging
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IN APRIL 1994, senior executives from the seven largest tobacco companies in the US appeared before a Congressional committee on health. One by one the men took it in turns to tell chair Democrat Henry Waxman from California that nicotine isn’t addictive. Speaking some three decades after the US Surgeon General’s landmark report on smoking and lung cancer, the kingpins of big tobacco just about managed to keep a straight face throughout. Fast forward to 2019 and there’s a stark comparison with the rhetoric happening around the plastic crisis.

Good business doing the right thing in the right way makes the world go around at a time when Nature needs all the help it can get. But so often corporations vested in maintaining a proven destructive status quo deploy breathtakingly bold but paper-thin diversionary tactics to delay desperately needed change.

Industry leaders have known for decades exactly how damaging the plastic they’ve been selling us has been to the planet. In 1972, two seminal papers were published in the journal Science, revealing the presence of plastic in the North Atlantic Ocean. Researchers found around 3500 plastic particle pieces per square kilometre in the western Sargasso Sea. In 1979, a Hawaii state circuit court struck down a plastic bottle ban following covert lobbying from the Society of the Plastics Industry.

Some four decades later the world’s biggest producers are seeking to shape the debate in a more overt way. Earlier this year, 30 chemical and plastics manufacturers from around the world clubbed together to launch the self-styled Alliance to End Plastic Waste. The firms have committed to investing some £778 billion over the next five years in infrastructure and innovation. Hidden amongst an almost implausibly vague set of campaign objectives is a vow to keep plastic waste “in the right place.” There is no measurable goal of reducing the actual production of the plastic that will almost always become valueless waste plaguing our oceans and landscapes for decades to come. Many of the members of this plastic waste-fighting Alliance are also the world’s biggest plastic polluters. It’s like arsonists lobbying for better fire extinguishers.

The tipping point for the tobacco industry was, of course, the final acceptance that it is damaging to human health. Many scientists believe the omnipresence of plastic – now measurable in our air, our soil, our drinking water and even our own bodies – is also impacting our health. Will this be the tipping point for plastic? The final reckoning that EPR [Extended Produce’ Responsibility] will actually extend beyond ‘recycling’ and mean culpability for the impact of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals our plastic is riddled with? Environmental lawyers Client Earth and CIEL reports state it could be only a matter of time.

Our industry leaders have Herculean tasks ahead. They need to lead us out of our addictive misuse of a miraculous but toxic material and must do so with absolute transparency. Plastic pacts, pledges and policies that include slippery words like ‘recyclable’ (by whom exactly?) are no longer sufficient for an increasingly savvy citizen. Nor is creating deflective quangos. Blaming plastic pollution on littering is yet another diversionary tactic; heaping the responsibility again on the public who don’t yet have much plastic-free choice. People buy what they are sold. It is industry’s job to sell them something different. It really is that simple.

Sian Sutherland is Co-Founder of A Plastic Planet (and a Founding Member of The Conduit). The global campaign group has a single goal – to ignite and inspire the world to turn off the plastic tap. To learn more about Sian and A Plastic Planet, listen to her interview on our podcast, Conduit Conversations.