Single-Use Plastics. From November 28 to December 2, the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution held in Uruguay the first negotiations for the creation of an international treaty to eliminate plastic waste by 2040. The Coalition, a group of 50 countries including Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Dominican Republic, Peru, Uruguay and Mexico, agreed to work towards an international treaty to eliminate the production of non-recyclable plastics, as well as substances and additives that prevent them from being recycled. The agreement is expected to be legally binding between the parties that adhere to it. The next negotiation meeting will be held in May 2023 in Paris, France. The coalition hopes to have the agreement in place by 2024.
The member countries of the Coalition seek to establish baselines and global targets for sustainability throughout the life cycle of plastics and to ensure transparency in the plastics value chain, as well as to determine prohibitions and restrictions, such as minimizing the demand for plastics and replacing them with recyclable materials, and banning substances that prevent plastics from being recyclable. The group also believes that such measures will significantly reduce the pollution caused by single-use plastics, which account for 50% of the plastic waste generated today, and that the agreed lines of action will be useful in changing the production and consumption habits of both companies and consumers.
Internally, some of the members of the Coalition discussed the possibility of vetoing about 2,400 of the 10,000 harmful chemicals used in the production of plastic materials at the industrial level, because they prevent plastic waste from being recycled. On the other hand, other Coalition participants proposed setting global targets based on each country’s sustainability priorities, as was already done in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
On this first occasion, the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution defined the modality and working commissions to outline the guidelines of the international agreement to eliminate the production of non-recyclable plastics. Likewise, it was determined that Ecuador and Canada will lead the Working Group that will seek to advance in the decision-making process on plastic pollution. The meetings on the matter will continue in May 2023 in Paris, France, where progress will be made in the drafting of the binding international treaty through the working commissions stipulated on the occasion.
Engagement opportunity for McDonald’s
The discussions organized by the Committee allow for the intervention of the private sector, so that companies such as McDonald’s will be able to have a voice but not a vote in the meetings held for the construction of the international treaty.