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UN gets closer to a treaty looking at ending plastic pollution by 2040

fish swimming in blue ocean surrounded by plastic waste and debris for creative waste solutions blog post on plastic recycling

Both the environmental groups and the plastics industry groups have hailed the results of talks in Paris on work towards a global treaty on plastics pollution.

Representatives of 169 governments led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have decided that a first draft of what is intended to become an international legally binding treaty on plastic pollution - including in the marine environment - will be presented to a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in November.

“Plastic has been the default option in design for too long. It is time to redesign products to use less plastic, particularly unnecessary and problematic plastics, to redesign product packaging and shipping to use less plastic, to redesign systems and products for reuse and recyclability and to redesign the broader system for justice.”

UNEP is intended to complete work on the treaty by the end of 2024.

Trade body Plastics Europe’s managing director Virginia Janssens said: “Finding a way to end plastic pollution by 2040 requires urgent and ambitious action." The Team at Creative Waste Solutions completely agree that it's a very ambitious project but totally necessary given the impact plastic has had on our oceans let alone the rest of our planet.

“To accelerate circularity, we need to create market pull for circular plastics, the rapid global expansion of collection, sorting and recycling, and to create a financing system to support the massive investments required.”

Janssens said it would be difficult to negotiate such an ambitious agreement but welcomed “the positive spirit in which the discussions have been held, and the collective desire to establish a common vision for the transformation of the plastics system”.

She urged UNEP to avoid “rushed negotiations and decisions that grab headlines through politically attractive but scientifically and economically counterproductive measures”. We couldn't agree more. If we are going to commit to it we need to do it properly and together.

Plastics Europe supports what it called a holistic approach built on sustainable plastic production, diversification of feedstock and reduction of dependence on fossil feeds. This is great to see!

It said the final agreement should tackle “problematic and unnecessary plastic applications locally through a science-based methodology” but avoid a one-size-fits-all approach when local solutions would be needed.

Environment group WWF said it “strongly welcomes the tangible progress made in the talks” and noted the vast majority of governments had actively called for an ambitious global treaty with specific and comprehensive binding rules across the plastic life cycle.

It said this should include global bans on high-risk plastic products and polymers, reducing production and consumption, promotion of reuse and recycling and the responsible management of plastic waste.

Marco Lambertini, WWF special envoy, said: “After a week of negotiations, the world is one step closer to the unmissable opportunity of a global treaty to end the plastic pollution crisis.

Recycling Association chief executive Paul Sanderson said: “We have to recognise that plastics play a valuable role in our society, but we also need to increase their recyclability. I’m encouraged that UN Environment Programme executive director Inger Andersen recognised this when she said that we need to redesign systems and products for reuse and recyclability.

Creative Waste Solutions are looking forward to seeing the treaty and especially how others in and out of the waste industry react to it. It's great to see things moving forward and we hope it will further highlight the importance of ensuring plastics are recycled as efficiently as possible for the future.


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