Plastics Europe reaction to conclusion of the INC-4 negotiations in Ottawa

Virginia Janssens, Managing Director of Plastics Europe, said:

Although we recognise that the negotiations are inherently difficult and some progress was made in Ottawa, the reality is that the clock is now ticking loudly.  The negotiations have reached a critical point, and it is essential that all stakeholders – governments, industry and civil society – redouble efforts to find workable compromises if we are to conclude the negotiations on time.

We are, therefore, greatly encouraged that negotiations will continue through intersessional work before INC-5 and believe the inclusion of observers is essential to maintain the transparency and technical integrity of the draft agreement.

How we mobilise and facilitate access to the necessary finance is a major challenge, particularly for emerging economies, and we are encouraged that there is a growing recognition of the importance of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes as one of the tools for managing the end-of-life of plastic products.

Similarly, we are encouraged by the number of proposals raised during the negotiations that address how best to define and avoid problematic and high-leakage plastics applications. This includes promising criteria-based approaches from the European Union and the United Kingdom as well as a related ‘decision tree’ developed by industry. Further work is now urgently required to flesh out these initiatives.   

We are, however, concerned about the lack of progress made in creating enabling policies and a regulatory framework required to accelerate the development of a circular plastics economy.  The most effective way to accelerate this transition while maintaining the utility that plastics offer society is for the treaty to make plastic waste a commodity with real value. The focus must now shift to policy measures that will increase the value of plastic waste as a circular feedstock by increasing demand for circular plastic raw materials, including the introduction of mandatory recycled content targets for sectors that use plastics at the national level.”