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  • Writer's pictureNanette Medved-Po and Stefanie Beiten

PCX Contribution to the Global Treaty on Plastic Pollution

PCX supports the development of a legally binding Treaty on Plastic Pollution and has been accredited to the United Nations Environment Programme and its governing bodies. We look forward to participating at the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC3) in Nairobi in November 2023 with official observer status.

PCX has responded to the Call for Submissions from the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution’ with these written recommendations. For easier reference we are summarizing our key points here below:

 

Plastic credits constitute a critical financing mechanism to ensure we can address the legacy and growing amount of plastic waste entering our environment today

 

It can help address both environmental and social issues, and incentivise capital investment in long-term circular solutions. Even with aggressive (40%) reductions in plastic production over the next two decades, we will still produce an additional 9B tons of plastic waste that must be addressed. Credits can be issued against every tonne of post-consumer plastic waste that has been verified to be collected and properly managed, and should adhere to minimum requirements on transparency, impact, and legal compliance.


Clear, rigorous and transparent standards for this work will be needed to ensure that bad actors do not exploit this mechanism for greenwashing. It should require third-party audited corporate plastic footprinting, the assurance of additionality of waste diversion and compliance to safeguard systems that protect all stakeholders. Unlike carbon emissions and the challenges that come with carbon credits, plastic is a tangible material that can be more easily tracked throughout collection, transport, and processing, and we can ensure that credits are only issued once impact has been verifiably delivered.


Properly incorporated plastic credits in EPR policy can then enable and accelerate the ‘polluter pays concept’. For example, in the Philippines, which has one of the more ambitious EPR policies for plastics, companies are required to take responsibility for 80% of their plastic packaging footprint by 2028. Offsets encourage the avoidance and reduction of plastic footprints while offering these Obliged Enterprises a way to align their impact towards their broader environmental and social goals. These requirements and this model have already incentivized investment in additional capacity for upcycling and recycling infrastructure.


Credits may also be allowed by governments to be purposely directed towards the establishment of new recycling and processing capacity through Infrastructure Credits.


This, in combination with Intergovernmental Compliance Blocks, can allow countries to invest in the circular systems needed to meet the aspirations of their National Action Plans together more economically and with greater flexibility.

 

In summary, verified and fully traceable plastic credits, in both voluntary and compliance-driven actions, can help ensure we are keeping plastic pollution out of nature while incentivising much needed capital investments for a truly circular economy

 

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