Wed. Sep 20th, 2023
    The Global Plastic Crisis and the Emergence of a Legally Binding Treaty

    The plastic crisis has reached alarming levels, with less than 10% of plastic waste being recycled and the majority ending up in landfills, incinerated, or contaminating the environment. The detrimental impact of plastic on public health and the environment is now widely recognized, making it a driving force behind climate change. As the fossil fuel industry faces setbacks due to the rise of renewable energy, it sees the production of new plastics as a backup plan.

    However, the plastics industry now faces a new challenge. Officials from across the world will convene at a United Nations meeting in November to discuss and negotiate the first legally binding treaty on plastics, with a final version expected next year. The implications for businesses that heavily rely on plastic could be significant if the treaty restricts production or use.

    What is surprising to environmental advocates and scientists is that influential organizations, including the United Nations itself, have aligned themselves with Big Plastic. This is evident at events such as Climate Week in New York City, organized by the Climate Group in partnership with the United Nations. Keynote speakers from McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm that advises fossil fuel companies, have been given a platform at the opening ceremony. Major plastic packaging brands and associate members of the American Chemistry Council, a leading plastics lobby group, are among the top sponsors.

    While event organizers defend the inclusion of these entities, environmentalists argue that engaging only with businesses and governments that already perform well on climate change won’t solve the crisis. The need to involve those who have further progress to make is essential.

    The negotiations for a legally binding treaty on plastics will have far-reaching implications for the plastics industry. It remains to be seen how the discussions and eventual outcome will shape the future of plastic production and use, as well as the long-term effects on the environment and human health.

    Source: ProPublica (No URL provided)