Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing threats to the planet. The oceans are saturated with plastic waste, marine wildlife is suffering. The consequences on human health and the environment are increasingly alarming. Plastic recycling appears to be an essential solution to reduce this pollution. Discover the international initiatives put in place to combat plastic pollution.
Current international initiatives
Current international initiatives against plastic pollution are numerous and varied, ranging from reducing plastic production to collecting and recycling waste.
The United Nations launched Clean Seas, encouraging governments, businesses and civil society to take concrete steps to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans and raise public awareness.
The Global Plastic Action Partnership platform, meanwhile, brings together governments, businesses and civil society to promote the collection by dumpster rental, recycling and reduction of plastic production.
At the European level, the single-use plastics directive prohibits these products, in order to reduce plastic waste. In France, the energy transition law sets targets for the collection and recycling of plastic waste and requires companies to contribute financially to the recycling of their waste.
The Basel Convention
The Basel Convention, adopted in 1989 and in force since 1992, aims to reduce the international circulation of hazardous waste, protecting human health and the environment. It establishes strict rules for the transport, management, treatment and disposal of this waste. In addition, it encourages the reduction of their production and the promotion of recycling.
Signatory States must notify cross-border movements of hazardous waste. They ensure their ecologically rational management. The Basel Convention is supplemented by protocols which strengthen its effectiveness in waste management and in the promotion of more environmentally friendly practices.
The United Nations environment program
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), created in 1972, coordinates UN actions in environmental matters. Its objective is to promote rational global management of the environment and to guarantee international cooperation for the protection of the planet.
UNEP has been at the forefront of the fight against plastic pollution by launching the Global Marine Litter Initiative (GMIS) in 2018, bringing together governments, businesses, NGOs and citizens to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans. He launched the “Clean Seas” awareness campaign to encourage the public to reduce their plastic consumption.
In partnership with other organizations, UNEP promotes plastic recycling, highlighting the economic and environmental benefits in its 2021 Recycling for a Cleaner Planet report.
European Union initiatives
The EU Plastics Strategy, adopted in 2018, aims to make all plastic packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030. This encourages the reduction of plastic production and the use of alternative materials. This strategy provides for an extended producer responsibility system to encourage companies to contribute to the collection and treatment of the plastic waste they produce.
In 2019, the EU adopted the Single-Use Plastics Directive, banning certain single-use plastic products such as cutlery, straws and cotton buds. This directive aims to reduce plastic waste and promote recycling, in particular by setting a target of collecting 90% of plastic bottles by 2029.
International NGO initiatives
International NGOs are implementing initiatives focused on reducing the amount of plastic in the environment through recycling. Here are some examples :
Greenpeace launched the Break the Plastic campaign aimed at reducing the production of single-use plastic and promoting sustainable alternatives. They also released a report highlighting the companies most responsible for producing plastic waste.
Plastic Pollution Coalition
This NGO works with businesses, governments and communities to reduce plastic pollution. Their “Refuse Single Use” campaign encourages consumers to avoid single-use plastic products.
Break Free From Plastic
This international coalition, made up of more than 1,400 organizations, fights against the production of single-use plastic and encourages the adoption of sustainable alternatives. She also leads campaigns to reduce plastic waste in the oceans.
In short, reducing plastic pollution through recycling is a major challenge. Current international initiatives are an important step towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. Reducing plastic pollution must be everyone’s business.