Despite rising concern over the global plastic pollution crisis, the amount of plastic entering the environment has continued apace. Public pressure has resulted in a weak patchwork of nation-based regulations and voluntary efforts, but they have failed to stem the tide. Now a group of global corporations has joined together to support a coordinated, treaty-based circular economy strategy through the United Nations. The question is, will it succeed where others have failed?
The new plastic pollution effort launched last week under a partnership between the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, WWF and the firm Boston Consulting Group, following a jointly authored report, The Business Case for a UN Treaty. “Despite a doubling of voluntary initiatives and national regulations over the last five years, plastic waste continues to leak into the environment at alarming rates – with more than 11 million [metric tons] of plastic flowing into our oceans each year,” explain the partners.
However, the effort to support a circular economy has been outrun by the bottom-up demand for plastic. A more intensive, top-down approach is needed.
“A binding global agreement that builds on the vision of a circular economy for plastic can ensure a unified international response to plastic pollution that matches the scale of the problem,” explained Ellen MacArthur, who