UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution

TOMRA strives for a world where, by 2030, 40% of post-consumer plastic packaging will be collected for recycling, and 30% will be recycled in a closed loop.

To meet these ambitious commitments and put an end to plastic pollution, we must implement proven waste management and recycling systems with immediate effect. The UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution has the power to catalyze the swift implementation of these systems - addressing the plastic pollution crisis at scale and forging the path towards a circular economy for plastics.

In March 2022, the UN Environment Assembly passed a historic resolution to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.

The resolution requested the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to convene an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop "the instrument," which is to be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic, including its production, design and disposal.

The INC began its work during the second half of 2022, with the ambition to complete the negotiations by the end of 2024. The first session of the INC (INC-1) took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay from 28 November to 2 December 2022, followed by a second session (INC-2) in Paris, France from 29 May to 2 June 2023. The third session (INC-3) is now scheduled from 13 to 19 November 2023 at the UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

TOMRA, as an active member of the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty facilitated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and World Wildlife Fund, invites collaboration with all industry players, experts, NGOs, and governmental organizations with high ambitions for the UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution. 

Overview of TOMRA's recommendations

Ensure access to efficient and convenient general waste collection for all citizens in all regions as a universal human right. Global access to waste collection is imperative to prevent litter and end illegal dumpsites and open burning.
Promote reuse models by setting targets for specific categories, such as takeaway food and beverage packaging, and creating financial incentives that initiate a shift from single-use to reusable packaging wherever this is environmentally beneficial. This will work towards making plastic consumption more resource efficient.
Ensure specific ambitious mandatory recycling targets for high performance systems, providing realistic, strict timelines for all countries at their individual development stage. Set a minimum 55% recycling rate target for plastic packaging. This will ensure that resources are spent on efficient initiatives towards a sustainable circular economy for plastic.
Introduce legislated well-designed Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for plastic packaging. Mandatory EPR will provide a long term and sustainable financing mechanism for infrastructure investments to collect, sort, and recycle plastic waste, as well as incentivize producers to choose and manage their packaging more sustainably.
Adopt well-designed deposit return systems (DRS) legislation for beverage containers combined with a 90% separate collection target. As a well-mandated, full-cost EPR scheme, DRS will decrease the amount of plastic that lands in nature (approximately 20%-25% of all marine litter is beverage container related) and drive circularity with a proven potential of 80% bottle-to-bottle recycling.
Adopt well-designed EPR legislation for textiles to enable the scaling up of textile collection, sorting, reuse, and recycling infrastructure, and accelerate the transition towards a circular economy for textiles. Today, polyester represents >50% of the global fiber market with <1% of clothing being recycled into new clothing.
Introduce legal measures ensuring effective Mixed Waste Sorting (MWS) prior to incineration, including a meaningful CO2 tax on plastic incineration. Furthermore, energy recovery from plastic should not contribute to the achievement of recycling targets, nor be defined as renewable energy. MWS is essential for the high recovery of plastic for recycling and typically increases recycling rates by 2-5 times. Additionally, by diverting plastics from burning, this solution contributes to a reduction in CO2 emissions. As each ton of plastic incinerated generates ~2,5 tonnes CO2 emissions.
Introduce legal measures ensuring effective MWS prior to landfill, including landfill plastic taxes or bans where alternative waste treatment is available. MWS will enable the recovery of plastic before it is lost to landfill, keeping these resources in circulation for as long as possible.
Introduce legal measures ensuring closed-loop – or high-quality - recycling, including recycled content targets, financial incentives for use of recycled plastic and strict export/import control for waste and recycled plastic. This will motivate eco-design, as well as optimization throughout a circular value chain.
Ensure independent institutions control the transparent reporting and measurement of achievements based on well-defined global industry standards. Worldwide alignment and efficient systems will create a level playing ground and stimulate real progress.

UN TREATY ON PLASTIC POLLUTION

Download TOMRA's 10 recommendations