Identifying Solutions to the Plastics Challenge – A Practioner's Briefing on Key Approaches

The SWITCH-Asia Programme 2022: Identifying Solutions to the Plastics Challenge. A Practioner's Briefing on Key Approaches. Bangkok: Switch-Asia.

The problem of plastic pollution and the ever-increasing masses of plastic waste is widely acknowledged. It is known to be based on very cheap as well as subsidised feedstock to produce plastic pellets (oil and gas), insufficient waste management in large parts of the world, and on the fact that plastic items are too widely used and designed to be too lightly discarded. The acknowledgement of the problem peaked at the United Nations Environment Assembly at its fifth session (UNEA 5.2) in Nairobi earlier this year (2022), when the global community issued a resolution to start an intergovernmental negotiation committee (INC) on plastic pollution, with the aim of arriving at a global, legally binding agreement.

During the INC process, which is scheduled to be concluded by the end of 2024 after a total of 5 sessions, states will need to decide how best to design an agreement that tackles the entire life cycle of plastics to prevent pollution. While others have written about what a global agreement would need to do and how it shall be designed (e.g., Raubenheimer & Uhro, 2020), this practitioner’s brief will lay out more hands-on solutions to the plastics challenge.