Plastics Europe supports the development of a global agreement to address the challenge of plastic waste, and welcomes the resolution negotiated at the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in Nairobi. The resolution calls for a legally-binding instrument with binding and voluntary provisions that will be defined by the INC (International Negotiating Committee).
The resolution highlights the need to foster the sustainable production and consumption of plastics across their full lifecycle. This requires a full life-cycle approach with upstream and downstream measures, ranging from product design to environmentally sound waste management.
Virginia Janssens, Managing Director, Plastics Europe, said: “The European plastics industry is in full action mode – leading the transition to a circular economy and the creation of a future of zero plastic pollution. The resolution promotes the importance of creating a supportive policy environment that is tailored to the specific needs of our industry and value chain to facilitate our transition and highlights the benefits and necessity of active collaboration and dialogue between our industry and all relevant stakeholders.”
Crucially, the resolution also recognises that there is no one single approach to tackling the global problem of plastic pollution, and that governments must be provided with the flexibility to adopt measures that are based on local circumstances and supported by the most appropriate enabling policies.
Markus Steilemann, Plastics Europe President, added: “Plastic waste pollution is unacceptable in any environment. The UNEA resolution represents a major step towards the creation of a waste free future which is critical to achieving our collective climate ambitions. The resolution also recognises the vital role that plastic applications play in society, which is welcome. We must enhance their value by making them circular and climate neutral, helping to establish a circular economy.”
Plastics Europe members are, for example, supporting a 30% EU mandatory target for recycled content in plastics packaging by 2030 and have recently announced 7.2 billion euros of planned investments in chemical recycling – a breakthrough technology – by 2030 in Europe. Plastics Europe has also been an active partner in the EU’s Horizon 2020 project, PlastiCircle, focused on transforming waste into valuable products through innovation at key stages of waste management.
As an industry, we are committed to implementing long-lasting positive change, and we look forward to continuing our active participation and contribution to the next phase of the negotiations.