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Negotiators tackle first round of talks to control plastic pollution
Negotiations recently began on a global plastics treaty, set to launch in 2024.
Various groups of stakeholders attended the meeting at the end of November, including advocates from the International Council of Chemical Associations. The U.S. is seeking approval to mirror the design of the 2015 Paris Agreement model, despite it being a poor model in the eyes of many countries and advocates.
At the first round of negotiations on a global plastics treaty, most governments, advocacy groups, and chemical industry representatives are united on the basics. They are laying the groundwork for the world to prevent and clean up plastic pollution.
They are far apart on the details of the pact, which is set to be completed in late 2024.
For instance, at the meeting, which began Nov. 28 in Uruguay, representatives of a number of countries and advocacy groups stressed the need to stop the manufacture of plastics that contain hazardous additives. These chemicals can adversely affect human health and can contaminate new plastics if they are combined through recycling.
Speaking on behalf of the International Council of Chemical Associations, Stewart Harris told C&EN that industry is working to improve information sharing about plastic additives. In addition, companies are beginning to think about recyclability when they design new products, he said.
Some advocacy groups complained about the presence of industry representatives at the treaty discussions. Talks on the 2003 World Health Organization treaty on tobacco control intentionally excluded tobacco companies. Similarly, an industry that profits from producing plastic and has the money to influence governments should not be at the table for the current talks, the groups say.
But many governments have welcomed industry’s participation, Harris said. Plastics makers are investing in joint ventures with waste management companies and seeking to ramp up plastics recycling, he said.
Cheryl Hogue, Chemical & Engineering News, Dec 1, 2022.