UNEA-5 and a Global Framework to End Plastic Waste

The Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) will take place from 28 February to 2 March in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme is “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.

ICCA and the World Plastics Council (WPC) are urging adoption of a UNEA-5 resolution to start negotiation of a new global agreement among nations with a clear and ambitious objective to end plastic waste leakage into the environment.

A global agreement among nations can help address gaps in the supply chain needed to transform end-of-life plastics into new recycled plastic, increasing the supply and affordability of recycled plastic.

Ending plastic waste requires the participation of all stakeholders, including industry, in the negotiation and execution of a new global agreement.

A new global agreement should be underpinned by 5 key elements for a global framework to end plastic waste. These elements will help solve plastic waste 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.

Restricting the production of virgin plastic will worsen supply chain disruptions, increase costs to brand owners by reducing choice, and hurt consumers without addressing the issue of plastic waste in our environment in a meaningful way.

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.