A new global plastics treaty due to take effect in 2025, will reset the world’s strategy for reducing and reversing the environmental and health impacts of plastic. Take a look at the politics and issues that will define the agreement with Dimitris Faloutsos, head of Transboundary Waters at the United Nations’ Global Water Partnership (GWP). The GWP and London-based policy institute Chatham House recently released a report, “Why lifecycle solutions are needed to tackle marine plastic pollution.” He and his co-authors argue that many solutions exist, including the developing global plastics treaty along with increased investment in the collection and processing of plastic with full transparency about the process to create accountability. The report suggests that plastic pollution, which costs society more than $100 billion a year due to health and environmental damage, will continue to grow until emerging strategies pioneered in Europe, Japan, and Chile are adopted — along with new ideas and technologies — to prevent plastic from reaching the ocean. In other words, we have some of the ideas and technologies necessary, it’s a matter of putting them to work while continuing to learn and improve the system.

Dimitris Faloutsos, Head of Transboundary Waters at the United Nations' Global Water Partnership
Dimitris Faloutsos, head of Transboundary Waters at the United Nations’ Global Water Partnership, is our guest on Sustainability in Your Ear.

More than 2 billion people live without access to waste collection services. Plastic pollution is growing with the volume of plastic produced, which has grown by 4.4% a year on average since the global financial crisis in 2007. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Global Plastics Outlook reports that 22 million tons of plastic pollution entered the environment in 2019, and if society continues plastic business as usual, 44MM tons of plastic will pollute the world’s waters, land, and animals’ bodies by 2060. You can read the report at https://circulareconomy.earth/publications/why-lifecycle-solutions-are-needed-to-tackle-marine-plastic-pollution.

By Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch is the publisher at Earth911.com and Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation at Intentional Futures, an insight-to-impact consultancy in Seattle. A veteran tech journalist, Mitch is passionate about helping people understand sustainability and the impact of their decisions on the planet.