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Asos Joins Global Plastic Pact, Will Pilot Reusable Packaging in 2020

Asos is making a stand against single-use plastic.

Britain’s largest e-tailer announced Monday that it has become a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, a global initiative that brings together 400 businesses and governments to endorse “one common vision” of a circular economy where plastic never becomes waste or pollution.

Signatories, which include H&M, Target and Zara owner Inditex, have pledged to eliminate all “problematic and unnecessary” plastic items, ensure that remaining plastics are reusable, recyclable or compostable, and circulate all plastic items “in the economy and out of the environment” by 2025.

As a member of the pact, Asos has committed to eliminate 50 percent (against a 2018 baseline) of its own-brand packaging and pivot from single-use to reuse models “where relevant” by 2025. The e-tailer says it has spent the past year developing a “bespoke prototype mailing bag,” made from 65 percent recycled plastic bags and 100 percent recyclable, which it will trial beginning next year.

Asos has also agreed to transition all its packaging to reusable, recyclable or compostable versions by 2025. (It says its packaging is already 100 percent recyclable in principle but it will work to ensure it’s 100 percent recyclable “in practice.”) In addition to moving to 100 percent recycled or renewable plastic packaging by 2025, with at least 30 percent stemming from post-consumer waste, Asos says it will work to encourage customers to return its packaging so it can recycle it into new Asos packaging.

“We’ve been working hard to reduce our use of plastic across Asos, including investing in developing our Asos mailing bags,” Simon Platts, responsible sourcing director at Asos, said in a statement. “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 formalizes 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.”

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At the same time, Asos has promised to take a “shared leadership approach” within the e-commerce sector to share knowledge and advance industry best practices.

Sander Defruyt, lead of the New Plastics Economy initiative at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said he was pleased that Asos has joined the fold with concrete 2025 targets.

“The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment unites businesses, governments and others behind a clear vision of a circular economy for plastic,” he said. “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.”