The Global Plastics Treaty

Our goal is to end plastic pollution by 2040 through a circular economy where all plastic applications are reused, recycled, and responsibly managed during and after use while enabling a lower greenhouse gas emissions plastic economy.

While plastics have had a history of innovation, particularly in supporting areas like healthcare and food preservation, pollution from plastics is a growing crisis. The need to develop a circular economy for plastics is ever pressing – a system that preserves natural resources and reduces waste while keeping valuable materials in use through more efficient recycling.

Through the endorsement by 175 nations of a UN resolution for an international legally binding agreement, the Global Plastics Treaty (GPT) is set to change how plastics are designed, produced, and recycled. The historic agreement will see topics such as the lifecycle of plastics and ocean pollution be addressed, and is expected to drive new collaborations and innovations throughout the sector.

Plastics Europe has set out its position on the GPT.

We must confront the reality that approximately 3 billion people lack access to basic waste management. Ensuring universal access to waste management requires a massive investment in collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure globally has to be a top priority if we are to meet the 2040 objective.

Virginia Janssens – Managing Director Plastics Europe

Plastics in Our Daily Lives

Whether you’re hydrating with a refreshing sip of water, staying in touch with friends and family, enjoying the comforts of home, or nourishing your body with fresh food, plastics play a crucial role in your everyday life. Of course, not all plastics are created equal, and different applications call for different properties. Learn more about the various types of plastic and their particular applications and benefits.

To know more about the different types of plastics, click here.

The Plastics Transition

Plastics Europe and its members share societal concerns about the European plastics system’s contribution to climate change and the challenge of plastics waste, and the need to foster the sustainable use of plastics. Plastics remain irreplaceable for many applications and have a vital role to play in enabling the sustainability transitions and supporting the competitiveness of many sectors in Europe.

fast facts

Fast Facts

The CIRCULARITY SCENARIO reduces 80% of end-of-life plastic disposal by 2050 compared to today, effectively reducing system CO2 emissions by 65%

24.5

million tonnes of plastic waste
generated in 2020

14%

of plastic waste were recycled, providing 3.5 Mt of recyclates in 2020

50%

of today’s European plastic waste is incinerated for energy recovery

95

million tonnes of CO² emitted per year in 2020, one-third is caused by incineration

Chemical recycling

Chemical recycling complements other plastic recycling options like mechanical, dissolution and organic recycling. Since it can deal with complex plastic waste streams, like films or laminates, chemical recycling can be used for plastic waste, which would otherwise result in incineration or landfill. With 67.5% of post-consumer plastic waste going to landfill and energy recovery across Europe, there is a clear potential for improvement.

Voices from Changemakers View more

I am confident technology wise. We still need to do a lot in the pre-treatment of waste.

Kim Ragaert

Kim Ragaert

Professor – Chair of Circular Plastics, University of Maastricht

There’s a lot that we can do together.

Nicholas Kolesch

Nicholas Kolesch

Vice President, Projects, Alliance To End Plastic Waste

The plastics industry has said a lot about how it’s ready to move.

Willemijn Peeters

Willemijn Peeters

Founding Director, Searious Business

Plastic needs its place in the circular economy.

Werner Bosmans

Werner Bosmans

Policy Officer, DG ENVI, European Commission

Want to learn more?

Further information available here.