A group of Irish businesses has pledged to no longer use PVC in packaging where viable alternatives exist by the end of 2020.

Plastics Action Alliance members also say they will use 30% average recycled content across all their plastic packaging by the end of 2025.

The group of 11 agricultural processing and food firms, which includes leading producers like ABP, Manor Farm, Keelings, C&D Foods and Monaghan Mushrooms, came together at the end of last year with the general aim of significantly reducing the use of plastic packaging across their operations.

Food companies are coming under increasing pressure from consumers to ditch plastic packaging because of the damaging environmental impact it has.

Lidl recently said it would become the first Irish retailer to offer customers segregated recycling stations, by offering them at the end of customer checkouts in all 160 stores across Ireland. 

Setting out their key objectives for the first time today, the collaboration said it wants to reduce both the use and quantity of plastic packaging without compromising on quality, shelf life and consumer experience.

The members also said they plan to eliminate single use plastics from everyday activities across all their sites by the end of next year.

Other pledges include searching for new materials from renewable sources as well as redesigning packaging to reduce the amount of plastic in each pack.

"The objects we have set are a tangible demonstration that the Alliance intends to take meaningful action with the introduction of further sustainable processes across their businesses," said Aidan Cooter, independent Chairman of the alliance.

"Some of the objectives we have set are ambitious, but we are confident that they will be met."