Plastics Europe urges world to move towards a ‘circular plastic system’

Plastics Europe has urged the global community to work together to successfully conclude the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations at Ottawa in April 2024. 

The body has said: “To ensure the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations can be concluded successfully, and on time, we urge everyone, including our industry and governments, to work more closely together and stay focused on identifying common solutions in Ottawa.  

It added: “We believe that transitioning from a linear to a circular plastic system, in which all plastic applications are reused, recycled and responsibly managed, is key to tackling the problem of plastic waste. And the most effective way to accelerate this transition while maintaining the utility that plastics offer society is for the Treaty to make plastic waste a commodity with real value.” 

The group believes that the greater the economic value of plastic waste, the greater the incentive will be not to litter, landfill or incinerate, but to reuse and recycle instead.  


Plastics Europe said this move will create an additional incentive to increase investment in waste management infrastructure and innovation, and drive growth and employment. “Therefore, we urge negotiators to focus on policy measures that will increase the value of plastic waste as a circular feedstock by increasing demand for circular plastic raw materials, including the introduction of mandatory recycled content targets for sectors that use plastics at the national level.” 

It highlights that extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes are an example of “financial and operational mechanisms” that can be an “effective tool” for managing the end-of-life of products. 


Plastics Europe added: “Whilst the negotiations should be pursued with urgency and ambition, we must avoid one-size-fits-all and superficially attractive decisions, that will lead to unintended environmental and socio-economic consequences and undermine our ability to effectively implement the Treaty. 

“Rather than bans and negative lists, which are blunt and counterproductive measures, we urge negotiators to support an application and science-based approach. This would allow us to define and avoid problematic and avoidable plastics applications leaking into the environment, without creating additional environmental damage and unnecessary socio-economic harm.” 

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