Colombia Plastics Pact: How did it start and what’s the progress? 

Bogota, July 24, 2023. (@CEMPRE_COLOMBIA). The efforts of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to promote research and innovation, the global actions of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) focused on fostering the circular economy, and the experience and knowledge of Compromiso Empresarial para el Reciclaje (Cempre) were the combination that made the arrival of the Plastics Pact in Colombia possible in 2022. 

The support from UKRI and WRAP was crucial in structuring this platform in the country, integrating different stakeholders in the value chain (companies, associations, government entities, NGOs, recyclers, etc.) and determining the baseline for the circular economy of plastic packaging in Colombia. 

Thanks to this support, it was possible to estimate that the Colombian market generates a total of 700,500 tons of plastic packaging annually. Out of this figure, approximately 223,300 tons are effectively utilized, which represents 32% of the total, and only 23,200 tons are being reincorporated into new plastic packaging (3%) within a sustainable circular model. 

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the Plastics Pact is making progress in developing a roadmap based on innovation, research, and collaborative work to achieve the following goals by 2030: eliminate problematic and unnecessary plastics, ensure that all packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable, achieve a recycling rate of 50% for plastic packaging, and increase the incorporation of recycled material into new plastic packaging by up to 30%. 

Currently, this platform has 10 companies of various sizes and sectors such as Carvajal Empaques, Coca-Cola Femsa, Esenttia, Jerónimo Martins, Nestlé, Plastilene, Plastisol, Resiter, SC Recycling, and Xiclo. Additionally, it is backed by important national and international allies such as Acoplásticos, ICIPC, Red Reciclo, The Consumer Goods Forum, Universidad de los Andes, WRAP, WWF, and various recycling organizations. 

As the coordinator of the Plastics Pact in Colombia, Cempre expresses gratitude to all stakeholders, especially UKRI and WRAP, for enabling opportunities to accelerate the circular economy of plastics in Colombia and address the issues related to inadequate management of this material with impactful actions. 

Laura Reyes, executive director of Cempre, sent a message of gratitude for the support from UKRI and WRAP: “As coordinators of the Plastics Pact, we are very grateful to WRAP and UKRI for their trust and collaboration in the development of the Colombia Plastics Pact. We are currently working on the roadmap for the plastics pact in Colombia, we are very pleased work with you.”