UN Plastic Treaty Draft to mandate reuse and repair targets



The first draft of the Global Plastics Treaty released by the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) includes reduction, reuse, refill and repair targets.

The “Zero draft text of the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment” was published this week (4 September) by the UNEP.

Reacting to the news, City to Sea’s Policy Manager Steve Hynd, said: “This is a potential game-changer and a historic day in our global campaign against plastic pollution. By embedding reuse targets governments can give the private sector the confidence it needs to both move to existing refill and reuse systems but also invest in the research that’s needed to mainstream reuse in packaging.

This is a potential game-changer and a historic day in our global campaign against plastic pollution.

“For the UK to stake a claim as a real global leader in this process they should now set, in conjunction with the devolved administrations, an ambitious and legally binding reuse target just as other countries like France have already done.

“Without this, they open themselves to accusations of asking others to do as they say, not as they do. This is time for the UK to put their money where their mouth is and show real leadership in the transition away from single-use plastics.”

In June, after a round of UN plastic treaty talks in Paris, participating countries agreed to develop a first draft of the agreement on plastic pollution by November 2023.

Between 29 May and 2 June, more than 1,700 participants in Paris – over 700 Member State delegates from 169 Member States and 900 observers from NGOs (non-governmental organisations) – attended the session, hosted by France at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Paris. The second session follows INC-1, which was held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in November 2022.

In July, the European Parliament vice president, NGOs, scientists and 35 MEPs signed an open letter demanding an “ambitious and legally binding” Plastics Treaty. Signatories also demanded corporations start measuring their plastic footprint.

This single-use culture that has been so rapidly normalised has to be stopped.

Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder of A Plastic Planet & Plastic Health Council, commented: “Plastic broke our system of reuse, refill, repair and share to use it once and bin it.

“This single-use culture that has been so rapidly normalised has to be stopped – reusable packaging and natural alternatives are the future. One day we will question why it was ever acceptable to use the material and energy to make packaging that we trash after just one use.

“I am heartened to see that the UN has recognised that to embrace a new age of reuse is to cut the head off the toxic single-use snake. Governments must be the catalyst for businesses to embrace reuse at scale and innovate plastic out of our lives. The introduction of the Global Plastics Treaty would be the first step on the road to change and protect both the health of humans and the planet.

“In the UK, I call on Prime Minister Sunak to sit up and take note. After years of delay and inaction, it is now time for Britain to drive forward effective environmental policy on the global stage and remove our heads from the sand.”

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