While the coronavirus pandemic may delay the Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) until April, the World Plastics Council (WPC) and the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) urge continued progress toward a UNEA-5 resolution to start negotiation of a new global agreement among nations with a clear and ambitious objective to end plastics leakage into the environment.
A new global agreement should be underpinned by 5 key elements for a global framework to end plastic waste. These elements will help solve plastics leakage while enabling the benefits of plastics to achieve a lower carbon and more sustainable future. They include establishing national action plans to eliminate leakage of used plastic, harmonizing definitions and reporting metrics, guidance on plastic product design, and expanding access to waste management and innovative technologies to enhance circularity, among other measures.
Plastics should never end up in the environment; these valuable materials should remain in our economy. Without plastics, we cannot achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals or the desired lower carbon future that mitigates and is resilient to climate change. To accelerate the shift to a circular economy for plastics, we must encourage innovation across product design, collection, waste management, and recycling, while ensuring flexibility for governments and avoiding prescriptive global policies.
Ending plastic waste requires the participation of all stakeholders, including industry, in the negotiation and execution of a new global agreement. ICCA, WPC, and our partners throughout the global plastics supply chain strongly support the negotiation of a new agreement that can catalyze innovation and action from all governments and stakeholders to address this pressing global challenge.