The Latest Good News about Plastic Pollution
While globally we have heavy hearts, we are buoyed by recent good news about plastic pollution. There’s a new plastic pollution treaty on the horizon, new refill collaborations, and new single-use plastic bans. All help raise awareness, change habits and reduce a huge amount of plastic waste.
The first global plastic pollution resolution is signed
This month in Nairobi, the United Nations Environment Assembly—representatives from 175 nations—agreed to start drafting the world’s first-ever global treaty to reduce plastic pollution. The landmark initiative addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, from manufacture to disposal, and includes solutions to stop the production of plastic at its source. The agreement is being described as the most important environmental initiative since the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and its impact is likely to be even more far-reaching.
Survey shows overwhelming support for reducing single-use plastic
Three quarters of people in a global survey (more than 20,000 people across 28 countries) want to ban single-use plastic, and 88% would like to see an international treaty to combat plastic pollution. The IPSOS poll was taken ahead of the UN meeting in Nairobi where talks were held to consider the global plastic pollution treaty. An important environmental milestone, this meeting (and the connection of plastic production to climate change) is encouraging people all over the world to support government involvement to reduce our dependence on single-use plastic.
Refill stations planned for every UK shopper
Several large grocery chains in the UK have joined a refillable grocery partnership, pledging to install refill stations in stores and for deliveries. Waitrose, Morrisons and M&S are part of the Refill Coalition, founded by Unpackaged. They’ll start with dry pantry goods like pasta, rice, cereals, seeds, grains and nuts. “This is the first step towards the fundamental removal of large quantities of single-use plastic packaging from regular grocery shopping – if we can make refills more available and affordable for shoppers, I am in no doubt that this will become a commonplace way of shopping in the future across all retailers, in the UK and farther afield.” — Unpackaged.
California acts to reduce microplastics
The California Ocean Protection Council recently approved the first comprehensive multi-year strategy to reduce microplastic pollution in California’s waterways, including solutions to eliminate plastic waste at its source. The initiative also recommends more research on the threat of plastic pollution to fish, marine mammals and humans, and will help the state take a national and global leadership role in reducing plastic pollution. The three-year collaboration by 5 Gyres called the San Francisco Bay Microplastics Project helped this initiative gain traction.
Pilot project raises awareness about the outdoor industry’s plastic use
In just three months, a project spearheaded by Eco-Cycle and the Plastic Impact Alliance collected a staggering 75,000 plastic polybags from a group of outdoor brands in Boulder, Colorado. The 11 companies represent most of the storefronts nationwide so they’re able to extrapolate the data and use it to raise awareness and urge companies to find sustainable alternatives. The plastic bags were downcycled into other materials, and the ultimate goal would be to eliminate them altogether, but for now it’s a big wake-up call for the outdoor industry.