UNEP Zero Plastics Treaty: focus on EPR
In June, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) was tasked with preparing a Zero Draft on an international, legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including the marine environment. On 4 September, the INC published the draft ahead of the third United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) session scheduled for 13 to 19 November in Nairobi, Kenya.
To fulfill the goals of the treaty, the Zero Draft explicitly asks signatory States to establish and operate extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems.
The Zero Draft aims to end plastic pollution and protect human health and the environment. To succeed with this goal, a full lifecycle approach is applied. A focus is put on harmful chemicals (see article here) and the hardest-to-recycle plastics that should be phased out more rapidly.
Furthermore, the draft proposes that signatory States should not allow the production, sale, distribution, import or export of certain short-lived and single-use plastic products.
Like the Paris Agreement, the treaty does not include time-bound or numerical targets but proposes that each signatory Party develops and implements a national plan for its contribution to the treaty, including publicly available progress reports.
The development of the Zero Draft was supported by various stakeholders, such as the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty, which Landbell Group joined earlier this year and which calls for an ambitious and effective global treaty to end plastic pollution (see previous article here).
Following the discussion in November, the final version of the Treaty is expected to be ratified in 2024.