Plastic recycling in focus as treaty talks get underway in Paris - GulfToday

Plastic recycling in focus as treaty talks get underway in Paris


A man walks on a mountain of plastic bottles as he carries a sack of them to be sold for recycling in Dandora, Kenya. File/AP

With countries meeting this week to work on a global plastics treaty, debate was emerging between countries wanting to limit the production of more plastics and the petrochemical industry favoring recycling as the solution to plastic waste.

Ahead of the talks starting Monday in Paris, many countries have said a goal of the treaty should be "circularity" - or keeping already-produced plastic items in circulation as long as possible.


US debt ceiling deal ready for Congress vote, says Biden

Two dead, 2 missing after tourist boat capsizes in Italy

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) hosting the talks released a blueprint for reducing plastic waste by 80% by 2040. In the report, issued earlier this month, it outlined three key areas of action: reuse, recycling and reorientation of plastic packaging to alternative materials.

Some environmental groups criticized the report for focusing on waste management, which they saw as a concession to the global plastics and petrochemicals industry.

A Chinese labourer sorts out plastic bottles for recycling in Dong Xiao Kou village, on the outskirt of Beijing. AFP

"Real solutions to the plastics crisis will require global controls on chemicals in plastics and significant reductions in plastic production," said Therese Karlsson, science advisor with the International Pollutants Elimination Network.

Under a new group called Global Partners for Plastics Circularity, the industry has put mechanical and chemical recycling at the center of its position.

UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen told Reuters that the criticism of recycling being in the report ignored the report's broader recommendations for overhauling packaging.

"We're talking about redesign, and when we're talking redesign, it's everything that we need to do so that we use less plastic," she said. "That's where it begins."




Related articles