These days, the WEF in Davos 2023 provides a global stage for the most fundamental issues at stake in today’s world. Undoubtedly, one of these issues is PlasticPollution. While plastics is in many forms a material of choice to enable CircularProductDesign and lifecycles, it is a massive and unacceptable problem if it ends up in the environment.
As the participants of this year’s WEF’s session 𝘌𝘯𝘥 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘗𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯: 𝘔𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘊𝘰𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘉𝘦𝘴𝘵 pointed out, plastic pollution has intolerable impacts on biodiversity, nature and its eco-systems. It is a problem to be fixed rather yesterday than tomorrow.
It is not particularly striking that all panelists agreed on this problem identification. What is striking and a major step forward: All panellists – from consumer packaging to finance, from NGO to developing country – agreed, that the UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution must be 𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 and 𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝗱𝗱𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗰𝘆𝗰𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰𝘀 in depth.
Indeed, voluntary actions are important, but not enough to get it done. Not having a harmonized, global baseline, prohibits economies of scale in terms of manufacturing solutions that are good for people and for the planet. What helps each country for moving up the waste maturity are binding commitments to level the playing field. More than this, on the mission to end Plastic Pollution, the whole life cycle of plastics must be carefully considered. From reusable plastics to improved recyclability (e.g. mono materials) or recycling technologies itself (e.g. better MechanicalRecycling and ChemicalRecycling): There is not one single path for progress. Only a CircularEconomy with closed loops, rigid life-cycle-assessments and green production processes will put a sustainable end to plastic pollution.