Pictured: Adela Putinelu, Head of Policy and Sustainability at Plastic Energy
As the third round of talks get underway for a UN Global Plastics Treaty, how can countries help to turn the tide on plastic pollution? Our Head of Policy and Sustainability Adela Putinelu explains why the plastics treaty is an important milestone – and what Plastic Energy is doing to fight plastic waste.
Why is the plastics treaty so important?
Plastic pollution is a global, multi-faceted problem, and as such, it requires global solutions. For the first time since the landmark Paris agreement, all UN countries are coming together to agree a new international treaty to reduce plastic pollution.
INC 3, the third meeting currently taking place in Nairobi, Kenya to agree the scope of the treaty is moving the multilateral discussions into an important phase of the negotiations as countries will review the draft text of the treaty for the first time. Two other meetings next year will take place with a goal to finalise the scope of the treaty by the end of next year.
How will the treaty help to tackle the global plastic waste crisis?
The UN plastics treaty will be a critical tool in the fight against plastic waste. It promotes global cooperation between all countries to reduce plastic pollution with the aim to establish legally binding rules across the entire plastics lifecycle. While huge disparities exist between countries related to plastics production, consumption and end-of-life management, the emphasis must be on wealthier countries to improve their own waste management infrastructure and incentivize sustainable consumption and production as well as efficient waste management. This will then influence the way other countries adopt these models and make them fit for their own production and consumption patterns. The treaty will be influential in harmonising global rules to apply to all countries.
What are the most important elements that should be considered as part of the global treaty?
It’s important to strike the right balance between upstream and downstream policies. Upstream policies include more sustainable production and manufacturing processes including design for recyclability, innovation and waste prevention. The business case for re-use also needs to be incentivised to reduce waste generation.
Downstream policies include better collection, sorting and recycling of plastic waste through a combination of several technologies including mechanical and chemical recycling. Chemical recycling plays an important role alongside mechanical recycling, however, a mix of both upstream and downstream policies need to be considered.
Other important policies such as the establishment of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes, mandatory recycled content targets in plastic products and taxes on virgin plastics should be a priority for the treaty negotiations.
In Europe, mandatory recycled content targets and virgin plastic taxes are being introduced to increase the amount of recycled plastics in packaging and automotive sectors. The goal is to reduce the use of virgin plastic in the manufacture of new products and make the best use of waste as a resource.
Plastic Energy supports a combination of complementary policy instruments and solutions to provide strong incentives and create the conditions needed for the establishment of a secondary materials market and a truly circular plastics economy.
Collaborative action across the entire value chain to support the implementation of measures sits at the core of tackling the plastic waste crisis and ensuring an effective treaty.
What is Plastic Energy doing to combat plastic pollution?
Plastic Energy is a global leader in chemical recycling, offering a sustainable solution to help reduce plastic waste. Our patented chemical recycling technology converts end-of-life plastic waste into an optimal feedstock (TACOIL™), which replaces fossil oils in the manufacturing of new plastics.
We recycle plastic waste that is not mechanically recycled and would otherwise end up in landfills, incineration or leaking into the environment to help pave the way towards a circular economy for plastic waste.
Plastic Energy has partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders in the supply chain, working with companies and brands to incorporate recycled content into their products. We have an ever-growing portfolio of packaging products commercialised on the European market with recycled content from our process. This demonstrates that chemical recycling works alongside mechanical recycling and we are working to expand our chemical recycling technology globally.
About Plastic Energy
Plastic Energy is a global leader in advanced (or chemical) recycling, offering a sustainable solution to help prevent plastic waste, transforming previously unrecyclable plastic waste into a valuable resource. Our patented and proven advanced recycling technology converts end-of-life plastic waste into an optimal feedstock (TACOIL™) for making virgin-quality recycled plastics. Plastic Energy currently has two advanced recycling plants that are in constant operation in Spain and is one of the few companies worldwide that has sold TACOIL™ from the conversion of end-of-life plastic waste to replace fossil oils in the manufacturing of new plastics. We are leading our field in the transition to a low-carbon circular economy for plastics.
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