A Treaty to End Single-Use Plastic

By our Correspondent

Authoritative sources have it that the world is choking in plastic trash, and the UN wants to do something to fix it. A meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on plastic pollution in Uruguay that ended last Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, represented a first, formal step towards a legally binding international treaty to deal with the global plastics problem.

Instuctively, such a pact would be the most consequential environmental treaty in years, but it has to contend with competing interests.

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But hardline countries and campaigners, on the one hand, are pushing for outright bans, and on the other, plastics industry coalitions are calling for a focus on recycling.

Following are a few numbers that summarize the issue:
45: Member countries of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution
50%: Portion of plastic waste represented by single-use plastics
~2,400: Harmful chemicals used in producing plastics
5%: Portion of plastics recycled in the US in 2021, down from 9.5% in 2014


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