The excessive production and consumption of plastic is suffocating our rivers and oceans, killing wildlife and contaminating our food, air and water. And it’s only getting worse.
In November, governments will come together in Nairobi for the third round of negotiations for a global treaty to end plastic pollution. This treaty is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a global solution to this worsening global crisis. Unless governments agree on an ambitious and fair treaty with legally binding global rules, plastic pollution is likely to triple by 2040, accumulating in our food and water and exacerbating the risk of flooding. We can’t let this happen. To solve this crisis, all countries must adopt a treaty that will ban avoidable high risk plastic items - those that cause the most harm or are most prone to leaking into the environment.
1. Create common global legally binding rules to regulate the production, consumption and management of plastic.
2. Establish global bans on the most harmful plastic products.
3. Develop global design requirements to ensure all plastic can be easily and safely reused and recycled.
4. Provide sufficient technical and financial support all countries, specifically LMICs to implement all measures in the treaty.
5. Actively engage and listen to the communities who are being most impacted, including informal waste workers and indigenous peoples.
The impacts of the global plastic crisis are not being felt equally. The worst, most crushing effects are hitting the most vulnerable communities the hardest, particularly those in low and middle income countries.
Year after year, low and middle income countries are left to deal with more and more of the world’s plastic. But with the rapid growth in global plastic production and consumption, much of which is too difficult or dangerous to recycle, this is an impossible task. And the plastic we think is being recycled is in fact bleeding into our rivers and oceans and wreaking havoc on communities.
Plastic production and consumption is out of control. We are being force-fed more plastic than we need and in a way that makes it impossible to responsibly manage.
To this point, plastic producers have operated with little accountability. The absence of global rules and responsibility have left people and the planet to pay the price. And we are now facing an accelerating threat that transcends borders and puts everyone in harm's way.
Over 90% of the plastic that pollutes our planet is made up of single-use plastics, such as plastic cutlery, and microplastics, such as those added to cosmetic products. So, while plastic production continues to skyrocket, asking people to just recycle is simply not good enough. To make plastic pollution history, we need to ban the highest polluting and most harmful plastic products and materials, and support all nations as they shift to reuse systems.
While the majority of governments support an equitable and binding treaty, we need to ensure leaders maintain momentum and do not compromise on our collective ambition. Use the tool below to see how your country stands on the key elements of the treaty, including bans, circularity and financial support.