What is plastic pollution?
Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic objects and particles in the earth’s environment that adversely affects humans, wildlife and natural habitats. Nowadays, it is one of our planet’s greatest human-made threats. This crisis requires a coordinated global response to address it adequately. Facing this situation, on March 2, 2022, The Beauty and Personal Care Industry has made a statementin strong favour of a legally binding treaty to address plastics pollution.
The importance of a treaty
A treaty is a formal and ratified agreement between states. Considering the transboundary nature of plastic pollution, an international legal framework on the matter is of uttermost importance. The main objectives of the treaty would be the improvement of waste management as well as of recycling systems, the promotion of innovation and eco-design and the reduction of use of virgin plastic. In doing so, a cleaner environment would be promoted, supporting the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 14&15 (protection of life below water and life on earth). Enforcing such laws and promoting the recovery and reuse of plastics would bring us closer to achieving a circular economy and lowering the carbon footprint.
What would the principles and characteristics of the treaty be?
According to The Beauty and Personal Care Industry statement, the global agreement on plastic pollution should be based on the following principles:
- Legally binding: the treaty would provide a legal obligation to all the signatory parties
- Adaptable implementation: the treaty should allow signatories to create the most efficient frameworks to meet its objectives;
- Interventions across the entire lifecycle of plastic, including different measures to address plastic pollution;
- Plastics and alternatives should beassessed along their lifecycle;
- Guidance on product design, encouraging parties and industries to draft guidelines to enhance circularity, foster innovation and ensure product integrity and consumer safety;
- Increased post-consumer technology capacity and deployment, including waste management measures;
- Harmonized definitions to avoid possible discrepancies due to local differences;
- Proportionality to ensure that the outcomes efficiently and fairly address the issue.
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– Cosmetics Europe. (2022). The beauty and personal care industry supports a global agreement to address plastics pollution. Cosmetics Europe. Retrieved on August 7, 2022, from https://cosmeticseurope.eu/news-events/industry-statement-global-agreement-plastic-pollution
– United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs – Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals. (n.d.). Retrieved on August 7, 2022, from https://sdgs.un.org/goals