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Support for an ambitious treaty grows

In March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly agreed to create a historic global treaty to end plastic pollution. Plastic Free Foundation has partnered with Ipsos and WWF on the first body of research to ask citizens from around the world about their support for a global treaty to address plastic consumption and pollution, what it should look like, and what particular rules people think are important. We are sharing this overwhelming public support for an ambitious treaty with governments around the world to ensure it is effective in ending plastic pollution.

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Global plastics treaty 

Negotiations for this treaty are underway and expected to be concluded by 2024. During the two-year negotiation period alone, the total amount of plastic pollution in the ocean is tipped to increase by 15%. The time to act is now.

In March 2022, the governments of 175 countries agreed to start work on a landmark global treaty on plastic pollution, covering the full plastic lifecycle, from extraction of oil and gas and plastic production, through to design, use, and management of plastic waste.

Leading up to this decision at the UN Environment Assembly, Ipsos surveyed people in 28 countries in September 2021 to understand whether they thought global action on plastic pollution was needed. Across all countries, 88% of people said a legally binding treaty to address plastic pollution is important, including one-third (34%) of people who said a treaty is essential.

One year on from this research, we wanted to explore people’s views on possible approaches to a treaty and whether it should include global rules to curb plastic consumption and pollution. To do this, we asked people from 34 countries questions about how a treaty could be set up and specific global rules that could be included in a treaty.

Public opinion

Taken together, our research in 2021 and 2022 provide a clear and compelling public mandate for global rules within an ambitious and comprehensive plastics treaty:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 people globally think a plastic pollution treaty is important or essential.
  • 7 out of 10 people worldwide think the treaty should create global rules, and half of all people surveyed say there should be consequences for breaking those rules.
  • Support for specific rules is even higher, with nearly 8 in 10 people supporting rules for extended producer responsibility, bans on difficult-to-recycle plastics, and labelling requirements.

Without collective intervention, a ‘business as usual’ scenario is expected to double our plastic generation by 2040. This will triple our plastic leakage into the ocean, in turn quadrupling levels of plastic pollution. 

Plastic Free Foundation and WWF call on governments to act in unison in establishing a plastics treaty with global rules as this is the only real solution to help achieve a circular economy, keeping plastic in the economy but out of nature.

More information

What you can do

WWF rising tides report supporting UN plastic treaty

Think about it. Why would you make something that you’re going to use for a few minutes out of a material that’s basically going to last forever, and you’re just going to throw it away. What’s up with that?

Jeb Berrier, Bag It movie

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