Many big brands, including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have called for a global pact to reduce plastic waste. One major facet of that waste is plastic production, which is a big moneymaker for the oil industry. Later this year, there will also be a United Nations meeting about plastic waste. The United Nations Environment Assembly conference (UNEA 5.2) will focus on disposable plastic that ends up in landfills, the ocean, and elsewhere.
Even though plastic is often marketed as being recyclable, it rarely ever sees that process. According to Reuters, less than 10% of plastic is recycled. This number is likely to decrease as plastic production goes up. Even though companies are always trying to find ways to stop single-use plastics, their ideas often don’t work.
As of right now, plastic production will double over the next 20 years. It will be a much-needed form of income for most energy companies, especially since more and more people are turning to electric vehicles and other forms of renewable energy. Thus, people will have less demand for oil and gas. To deal with less demand, plastic production will push forward.
Unfortunately, stopping the creation of plastic will have to happen before anything changes. Pushing for better recycling efforts only does so much. A 2020 study by Pew Charitable Trusts found that waste will keep getting worse as long as we make large amounts of plastic.
Many Different Companies Are Pledging to Reduce Plastic Production
As of right now, no one is sure what these deals will look like. There’s a myriad of routes that could be taken by those that want to reduce plastic waste. For example, they could focus on waste management and recycling efforts, or they could even work to lower the amount of plastic made in the first place. If they choose to focus on the latter, other industries will push back.
Overall, the joint statement had more than 70 signatures on it. It was backed by all kinds of companies, from retailers to banks, to consumer goods creators. For example, Nestle, Unilever, and Walmart all signed the release.
So far, the treaty has been backed by almost two-thirds of UN members. The treaty couldn’t come at a better time, they say. More than ever, everyone needs to come together to form a clear action plan on waste. It’s been hard to rally people together in a way that works for everyone. This treaty would hopefully create specific steps that they could take to stop plastic waste. “We are at a critical point in time to establish an ambitious U.N. treaty,” the statement said. Regardless of which route the companies decide to take, it should “reduce virgin plastic production and use.”