17 May 2023.
The UNEP recently released a report titled “Turning off the Tap: How the world can end plastic pollution and create a circular economy”. The report emphasizes the importance of adopting a circular economy approach in curbing plastic pollution across the world.
The Significance of the Report Launch
The report was launched on May 16, 2023, just before the upcoming Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee-2 (INC-2) meeting. This meeting serves as an opportunity to discuss a legally binding instrument to address plastic pollution. The report provides valuable insights and recommendations to guide these crucial discussions.
80% Reduction by 2040
According to the report, it is possible to reduce global plastic pollution by 80% by the year 2040. This ambitious goal can be achieved through strategic policies and market shifts that prioritize sustainable practices and the circular economy.
The Circular Economy Approach
The report strongly advocates for adopting a circular economy approach to tackle plastic pollution. This approach involves three key market shifts: reuse, recycle, and reorient and diversify. By embracing these shifts, countries and businesses can minimize the use of unnecessary plastic and promote sustainable alternatives.
Measures to Address Plastic Pollution
The report suggests various measures to address plastic pollution. These include setting design and safety standards to ensure proper disposal of non-recyclable plastic waste. Manufacturers should also be held responsible for products shedding microplastics. Additionally, implementing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes can ensure producers finance the collection, recycling, and responsible end-of-life disposal of plastic products.
Benefits of the Circular Economy
According to the analysis presented in the report, transitioning to a circular economy would result in significant benefits. It is estimated that this shift could lead to savings of $1.27 trillion, taking into account costs and recycling revenues. Moreover, by avoiding externalities such as health, climate, and air pollution, a further $3.25 trillion can be saved. Additionally, the transition to a circular economy could generate a net increase of 700,000 jobs by 2040.