The UK Government will attend the first negotiations meeting in Uruguay for a global plastics treaty
This week, the UK Government (28 November 2022) is attending the first Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) meeting in Uruguay to kickstart negotiations on the new, landmark legally binding treaty that aims to end plastic pollution by 2040.
The first meeting will allow the UK, alongside other United Nations member countries, to assert their initial negotiating position, set the direction of discussions and reinforce the treaty’s overarching objective: to bring an end to plastic pollution globally.
Plastic pollution is one of the greatest environmental threats that we currently face. Current commitments around the world will only reduce the annual discharge of plastic into the ocean by 7% by 2040 according to the Breaking the Plastic Wave report published by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The new treaty would set obligations on countries to reduce pollution across the whole plastics lifecycle, reducing consumption of plastic, re-using plastic products and improving waste management systems.
Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said:
“The images of marine life trapped in plastic waste remind us why global cooperation to end plastic pollution is so important.
“The UK is leading the way with action to cut waste domestically and this week we will join other high ambition countries in Uruguay to help set the foundations of an ambitious treaty to end plastic pollution by 2040.”
The UK continues to be at the forefront of tackling global plastic pollution, co-sponsoring the proposal to prepare the new treaty at the UK Environment Assembly in February 2022; leading on a series of dialogue meetings to help inform the UK’s negotiating position for an impactful treaty; and being a founding member of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, a group of more than 40 countries calling for a target under the treaty to stop plastic from flowing into our lands and ocean by 2040.
The UK has also taken action at home by banning microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and restricting the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. Our carrier bag charge has reduced the use of single-use carrier bags in the main supermarkets by over 97%.
The introduction of extended producer responsibility for packaging will ensure producers cover the costs of collecting and managing plastic waste, and our plastic packaging tax will incentivise businesses to use recycled plastic in the manufacture of plastic packaging.
United Nations member states have agreed to a schedule of five INC meetings with hopes to finalise the treaty by the end of 2024.