End Plastic Pollution
7 Global Efforts for Plastic Legislation
July 12, 2022
Did you know, If the current rate of plastic pollution continues, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish?
Our mission for Plastic Free July is to reduce our plastic footprint through global and individual actions. This month, we want to shed light on various initiatives taken by other countries to reduce their plastic pollution.
Here are 7 global measures that are making way in our fight to curtail plastic waste.
- UNEA GLOBAL PLASTIC TREATY
In February and March of 2022, the UN Environmental Assembly met in Nairobi to discuss what could be the most influential environmental policy since the Paris accord. In an effort to address every aspect of plastic pollution, their goal is to utilize science-based policy when drafting this agreement. Through the creation of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC), the UNEA hopes to have this agreement ready by 2024. This agreement will ideally recognize different approaches, emphasize the importance of this issue, and acknowledge the need for a legal framework.
- GLOBAL TOURISM PLASTICS INITIATIVE
The tourism industry is notorious for contributing to the large amount of plastic waste in our environment. Many products associated with tourism and traveling are meant to be used only once or a couple of times and then discarded. This unfortunate standard has caused a drastic increase in plastic pollution during peak tourism seasons.
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative ensures businesses, governments, and other stakeholders take action and do their part in reducing plastic pollution. The goal of this initiative is to have concrete agreements and terms by 2025.
- CIRCULAR PLASTIC ECONOMY
In 2015, the EU created a Circular Economy Action Plan which later consisted of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy. This plan works towards strengthening the regulations on recycling plastic products and providing more of a science-based approach to legislation.
This approach helps limit the amount of plastic waste by creating more of a “circular” method of reusing products and straying from single-use plastics. Through the collaboration of producers, retailers, and consumers, this plan looks to rid our environment from the negative effects of plastic pollution.
- BAN ON PLASTIC BAGS
Every second, 160,000 plastic bags are used. The vast majority (99%) of these end up in landfills or in our oceans where they then take nearly 1,000 years to completely break down.
In 2002, Bangladesh paved the way towards plastics legislation, becoming one of the first countries to take the leap and ban plastic bags. Nearly 77 other countries have followed in Bangladesh’s footsteps, in addition to 32 countries who have put in a tax or other restrictions that limit the production and sale of plastic bags. While some states within the U.S. have begun to implement local bans on plastic bags, there has yet to be an initiative of a country wide ban on single-use plastic bags.
- BAN ON ALL SINGLE-USE PLASTIC ITEMS
Along the same lines, this month India passed a ban on single use plastic products. This ban outlaws the production, distribution, and use of single-use plastic products such as straws, cutlery, earbuds, and plastic sticks. India, the second most populated country in the world, has struggled with plastic pollution for years. Their lack of waste management has proven it difficult to rid the streets of the vast amount of plastic waste which ultimately has led them to enforcing this legal ban.
- OUTLAW PLASTIC BAGS, STRAWS, AND CONTAINERS
In 2019, Guatemala banned single-use plastics with a two-year deadline for the public to find alternatives to the bags and various products such as plastic plates, cups and straws. The new regulations will have penalties for non-compliance, with exceptions such as for materials for medical purposes.
- BANNING OF NON-BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS
Dominica’s “Go Green Dominica” initiative was put in place to restore their natural environment. As this island’s tourism sector grew, they strayed further and further away from the core values of caring for their land. This new initiative phases out plastic products and introduces alternatives that could be converted into energy, water, or biomass.