Supply Chain Pressure on Moving Towards Zero Plastic Waste and the Need for Innovation

Posted on Posted on 26 Nov 2020

KTN and UKCPN have published a report on Supply Chain Pressure on Moving Towards Zero Plastic Waste and the Need for Innovation.

UKCPN has published a report on Supply Chain Pressure on Moving Towards Zero Plastic Waste and the Need for Innovation, which comes from KTN’s Zero Plastic Waste Innovation Network company survey. 


The formation of the KTN Zero Plastic Waste (ZPW) Special Interest Group (SIG) (now renamed Innovation Network) was undertaken in order to understand the challenges that companies face in reducing plastic waste across all sectors in the company excluding Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) packaging.


One of the key activities of the ZPW Innovation Network has been to understand the innovation needs of companies who are not in the FMCG sector. Innovations will be implemented faster if companies feel under pressure to change the status quo, so this survey was designed to assess the variations across sectors and company size.


To facilitate the survey, a number of ‘business breakfasts’ have been held during which companies have been interviewed and/or asked to complete a questionnaire around their current thinking on the journey (if any) towards reducing plastic waste in their company.  The data from this work has been evaluated and the results are presented graphically. In addition, individual company examples are used to highlight specific issues.


KTN has surveyed around 100 companies across different sectors and company sizes to understand the challenges that companies are facing in reducing plastic waste in their business (excluding fast moving consumer goods). The survey focussed on:

• the areas of the business in which they currently have issues;

• whether their supply chain is currently putting pressure on them to reduce plastic waste;

• whether they anticipate this pressure increasing in the future;

• in which areas they would prioritise solutions;

• whether government intervention is needed to implement change.


The data has been split by sector for each issue and also company size. While some issues (like transportation) are equally applicable across sectors, other issues (like product use and consumption) vary greatly between sectors. The main conclusions are:

• For the large majority of the companies in the survey, reducing plastic waste is a live issue.

• This is encouraging as less than a quarter of the companies surveyed currently have significant pressure to reduce plastic waste.

• However, about half believe that supply chain pressure will increase and the majority of these are expecting it within 2 years.

• There are a range of issues that companies are considering, with largest number of responses being around end of life of the product.

• Companies that are closer to the end user/consumer are feeling the most pressure to reduce plastic waste. Further up the supply chain, cost remains the predominant factor in business decisions.

• There is significant need for government intervention to help with innovation uptake to reduce plastic waste.

• Some interventions could be targeted at specific sectors whereas other interventions will be equally applicable across sectors.


You can view the report in full here.

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