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Definitions and standards should be globally agreed
and harmonised, such as a globally agreed definition of the
word " recycling " and standards on what must be disclosed on
plastic labels.
This would increase effectiveness of government
efforts to tackle the plastic crisis. Harmonised
definitions and standards will reduce the risk of illegal plastic
imports undermining government policies (for example, what
constitutes a single-use plastic bag will be consistent across
countries so there is no risk of plastic bags being imported
illegally). It would also facilitate recycling, for instance
through labelling that discloses plastic's ingredients and
providing the information required to determine whether
that plastic is recyclable under the constraints of the domestic
recycling system. This would reduce the risk that plastic that
is recyclable is unnecessarily disposed of due to uncertainty
around the ingredients.
It would also facilitate business efforts to support a
circular economy for plastics. Harmonised definitions
and standards would ease business operations and incentivise
business innovation because there would be only one set of
consistent rules to follow when trading in multiple countries.
Moreover, businesses would only need to innovate once to
meet the rules of all countries, rather than pursuing multiple
innovations to meet various standards. Consistent standards
will also reduce costs for businesses that currently struggle to
comply with different fragmented standards and regulations
across countries, increasing likelihood of compliance.
Policy measures across all stages of the plastic
lifecycle should be considered and should be
prioritised based on considerations of leakage
risk, proportionality, and cost-efficiency. The
new treaty should set a high common standard
of action, with specific and universally applicable
rules. This will ensure that the international community
acts in a coordinated manner, tackling all of the costs and
negative impacts. Where relevant, policy measures should be
adapted to national contexts, and the treaty should provide
positive incentives for technical innovation and investment
in new and sustainable solutions. As an example, the new
treaty could require states to introduce and implement EPR
schemes for the most problematic categories of plastic.
This will provide incentives for companies to pursue
innovative delivery models or explore environmentally sound
alternatives to plastic.
The treaty should set up a dedicated scientific body
to assess and track the plastics problem. To ensure
that the regime is gradually strengthened over
time, countries should also be required to submit
annual progress and monitoring reports. A key task
for the scientific body would be to develop a globally agreed
methodology for measuring key indicators and gathering
data. This would provide the baselines needed to monitor
progress and inform decision making. More comprehensive
stocktaking at 4-5 year could also be considered, which would
aim to ensure states stay on track to meet objectives and
allow necessary adjustments to be made. This would also
enable better understanding of the effectiveness of different
measures which can inform future interventions.
Implementation support should be provided, both
in the form of a financial mechanism as well as
technical support, including best practice sharing
among states. This will provide the support for countries to
overcome some of the barriers that are currently preventing
effective action. For example, the treaty will provide the
necessary financing for governments with less sophisticated
waste management systems to pursue the required
investments in infrastructure.
The Country Deep Dives in Annex 1 provide specific
examples of how the components of the treaty can
support South Africa, Japan and Australia to better
tackle the plastic crisis and therefore reduce the
costs that the plastic lifecycle currently imposes on
these countries.
WWF INTERNATIONAL 2021

TCoPS

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of TCoPS

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