Statement: United Nations agree to framework for historic treaty to reduce global plastic pollution

Media Contacts
Steve Blackledge

Senior Director, Conservation America Campaign, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Countries to address the entire ‘lifecycle’ of plastics from production to waste

Environment America

BOSTON — As the country that generates the most plastic waste in the world, the United States has joined other United Nations members in a groundbreaking international agreement to address the global plastic waste crisis. Negotiators will now start developing the terms of the treaty. The agreement gives policymakers a broad mandate to target plastic trash in all its forms -– not just bottles and straws in the ocean, but also invisible microplastics polluting the air, soil and food chain. The agreement calls for new rules around the design of plastic products, which are made from oil and gas, to make recycling easier, encourage sustainable use, and spur better waste disposal.  

This comes following a recent global survey that found three-quarters of people polled  across 28 countries agree that single-use plastic should be banned as soon as possible.

Environment America Senior Conservation Director Steve Blackledge said:

“An ambitious international treaty on plastic waste is exciting and overdue. Whales, sea turtles, birds and, in fact, all nature on our planet have suffered long enough. In the United States, we’ve seen individuals, communities and states choose wildlife over waste by eliminating needless single-use plastics. Now it’s time to go big, to go global.”

PIRG Environment Campaigns Director Matt Casale issued the following statement in response:

“The U.S. creates more plastic waste than any other country, so it’s important we embrace a strong global treaty to tackle plastic pollution. From the fossil fuels we use in plastic production to the bottles and bags dirtying our oceans, lakes, rivers and lands, plastics create harmful pollution at every stage of their lives. That’s why an agreement that addresses plastic’s entire ‘lifecycle,’ everything from production to waste, is critical to protect all life from the growing harms of plastic pollution.”