Turning off the Tap: How the world can end plastic pollution and create a circular economy

Steve Fletcher*, Antaya Lauren Alexandra March*, Keiron Roberts*, Yoni Shirian, Llorenc Milà i Canals, Alison Cairns, Peggy Lefort, Allan Meso, Andrew David Raine, Aphrodite Smagadi, Steven Stone, Elisa Tonda, José de la Fuente, Julia Koskella, Anne Titia Bove, Eline Boon, Andrea Bass

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Abstract

In a historic decision at the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly in March 2022, all 193 UN Member States decided to end plastic pollution. With negotiations on a binding legal agreement by 2024 now underway, the question is how to realise that goal. While many technical solutions for a circular plastics economy are known, the economic, fiscal and business models to address the associated impacts while also safeguarding livelihoods are less clear. This report examines these issues and proposes a systems change scenario - addressing the causes of plastic pollution, rather than just the symptoms. Such a systems change will enable countries to turn off the tap and end plastic pollution while at the same time transitioning towards safer and more stable jobs for those currently working in the informal sector, and create business and job opportunities. The report analyses the opportunities and impacts of a systems change scenario. The scenario combines reducing the most problematic and unnecessary plastic uses with a market transformation towards circularity in plastics by accelerating three key shifts - Reuse, Recycle, and Reorient and Diversify – and actions to deal with the plastic pollution legacy,
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUnited Nations Environment Programme
Number of pages88
ISBN (Print)9789280740240
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2023

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