Environmental groups are calling on businesses that profit from plastic to do more in the hopes that a worldwide agreement will prevent sustainable enterprises from being at a competitive disadvantage.
According to the findings of an Ipsos survey of more than 23,000 individuals in 34 countries, eight out of ten Australians believe that manufacturers and retailers should be held accountable for reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic packaging.
Australians as a whole support a ban on unnecessary single-use plastics at 79%, a restriction on plastics that are difficult to recycle at 78%, and a requirement that all new plastic items use recycled plastic at 78%.
Prior to negotiations on the details of a United Nations convention to tackle plastic pollution, the findings of the survey commissioned by WWF and the Plastic Free Foundation were released.
According to the survey, seven out of ten people worldwide think the treaty should establish binding international regulations to stop plastic pollution.
According to Kate Noble, manager of the No Plastics in Nature policy at WWF-Australia, the findings indicate a degree of frustration with the challenge of making sustainable decisions.
People don’t want to be given 50 options and forced to read the labels on each item to make a decision, according to Ms. Noble.
“A lot of substitution would be extremely logical; pasta comes in both a plastic bag and a cardboard box.”
A global set of norms for the production, design, and disposal of plastic might replace the patchwork of national or voluntary standards currently in place.
According to Ms. Noble, Australia’s plastic usage has nearly doubled over the previous 20 years and is continuously growing.
“It’s time for businesses that manufacture and distribute plastic to stand up and accept responsibility by getting rid of the plastics we don’t need and switching to alternative materials when needed.”
According to Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, founder of the Plastic Free Foundation, the outcry over the suspension of the REDcycle plastic bag program after it was discovered that plastic bags were being kept in warehouses indicates the demand for efficient waste systems.
According to Ms. Prince-Ruiz, “What the REDcycle issue teaches us is that we can collect stuff; the collection isn’t the problem.”
We are only collecting waste unless we purchase packaging and products made of recycled plastic, not recycling it.
The issue is that recycled plastic is “considerably” more expensive than virgin plastic, yet some businesspeople desire a fair playing field, according to Ms. Prince-Ruiz.
Having a minimal percentage of recycled material in plastic items is one strategy to combat this.
Plastic packaging in the UK that does not contain at least 30% recyclable material is already subject to a charge.
According to the most recent data from the Australian Packaging Covenant Organization, recycled content in post-consumer plastic packaging amounts to an average of roughly 3% in Australia.
The first of several sessions intended to negotiate the plastic pact will begin on November 28 in Uruguay.
Ms. Noble believes that Australia won’t wait to make adjustments because the negotiation process is expected to take at least two years.
She remarked, “That will help Australian businesses.”
Everyone will be involved in the process, which could make ratifying and enacting those treaty requirements into national law much easier.
According to the WWF, the overall amount of plastic pollution in the ocean is predicted to rise by 15% during the two years of negotiations alone.