UK pushes for ‘ambitious and effective’ global plastic treaty

Defra says it pushed for an “ambitious and effective” global plastic treaty at the first Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) meeting in Uruguay last week.

Recycled plastic prices
High inflation has had differing impacts on recycled plastic prices across Europe (picture: Shutterstock)

Held between 28 November and 2 December, the first INC meeting hosted more than 160 countries as they attempted to thrash out an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.

Defra says it negotiated the treaty via the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, an initiative which has more than 50 member countries, including the UK.

The Coalition seeks to restrain plastic consumption and production to “sustainable” levels, enable a circular economy for plastics that protects the environment and human health, and achieve “environmentally sound” management and recycling of plastic waste.

Environment secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “This week we have taken an important step forward with more than 160 countries coming together to lay the groundwork for a legally binding treaty on plastic pollution.

“The UK has led the way in pushing for a treaty that will reduce the production and consumption of plastic, address plastic design, and encourage more recycling and re-use of plastic.

“It’s through coordinated action across the globe that we will tackle this issue and put us on the path to reducing plastic waste and protecting our natural environment.”

Plastic pollution

In a statement, Defra said the UK continued to be “at the forefront” of tackling global plastic pollution, co-sponsoring the proposal to prepare the new treaty at the United Nations Environment Assembly in February 2022 and leading a series of meetings to help inform its negotiating position.

Defra says the UK has also acted at home by banning microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and restricting the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds (see letsrecycle.com story).

The carrier bag charge has reduced the use of single-use carrier bags in the main supermarkets by more than 97%, Defra claims (see letsrecycle.com story).

The introduction of extended producer responsibility for packaging will ensure producers cover the costs of collecting and managing plastic waste, Defra says, adding that the plastic packaging tax incentivised businesses to use recycled plastic in the manufacture of plastic packaging.

Share this article with others

Subscribe for free

Subscribe to receive our newsletters and to leave comments.

Other Publications from
The Environment Media Group

The industry on LinkedIn

Follow Letsrecycle on LinkedIn
Back to top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest waste and recycling news straight to your inbox.