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Surfrider Continues to Fight for a Strong Global Plastic Treaty

While public discourse on the forthcoming Global Plastic Treaty has slowed down, internal efforts continue to ramp up in advance of the next International Negotiating Committee meeting taking place in Nairobi, Kenya this November. Along with members of the Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) movement, Surfrider Foundation continues to demand the United States commit to mandatory measures that include reducing plastic production and promoting reuse/refill systems. 

The most straightforward way for the U.S. to do this would be to join the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) of countries pledged to develop an international legally binding treaty ensuring urgent action and effective interventions along the full lifecycle of plastics with a shared ambition to end plastic pollution by 2040. However, the current position of the U.S. limits the ability to agree to any conditions not already codified in federal law.

Unfortunately this means that the U.S. not only lags behind the global community in ambition, but that the federal administration is failing to advocate for adequate protections to environmental justice communities affected by toxic production methods and also risks locking us into climate change – at the current rate of growth, plastic production produce more greenhouse gas emissions than coal by 2030.

Specific asks shared by BFFP members include:

  • Limit plastic production;
  • Phase out single-use plastic; 
  • Focus on reduction, reuse and refill solutions instead of recycling;
  • Avoid the false solutions of “advanced” or “chemical” recycling; 
  • Make plastics producers responsible for the environmental and social costs at every stage of lifecycle; 
  • Ensure that frontline communities, waste-pickers and others disproportionately affected by plastics are engaged in the transition process;
  • Support global targets for plastic production reduction; 
  • Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies;
  • Prohibit toxic chemical additives in the production process;
  • Ensure transparency and traceability.

What can you do to help? 

  1. Urge your representatives in Congress to advocate for these asks to the Biden Administration and State Department.
  2. Support Surfrider Senegal – founder Babacar Thiaw will attend the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (INC-3) in Nairobi, Kenya to advocate for the strongest treaty possible. (Read about Surfrider’s Plastic Pollution Initiative Senior Manager Jennifer Savage’s participation at INC-2 here!).