"Plastic has been the default option in design for too long," said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen, in a statement. "It is time to redesign products to use less plastic, particularly unnecessary and problematic plastics, to redesign product packaging and shipping to use less plastic, to redesign systems and products for reuse and recyclability and to redesign the broader system for justice."
U.N. officials are asking observers and nations to submit detailed comments in coming months, including on what intersessional work is needed ahead of the next round of talks, which are scheduled for UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, in November.
The 169 nations participating in Paris tasked the head of the negotiating committee, a senior Peruvian diplomat, and treaty staff to draft an agreement that countries would then debate in Kenya.
The head of the Global Partners for Plastics Circularity, a coalition of associations representing chemical and plastics resin makers, said they want to be part of the work before the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee talks in Kenya.
"Between now and INC-3, we invite governments to engage us," said Benny Mermans, chair of the World Plastics Council and a Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. executive. "The GPPC has deep expertise to share, and we seek to collaborate to find solutions that can help solve the unique challenges countries face towards eliminating plastic pollution."
Environmental groups said they saw momentum for a strong treaty.
The World Wildlife Fund said 135 countries are formally calling for binding rules in the treaty and 94 states said the agreement should "prioritize bans or phase-outs of problematic polymers, chemicals and high-risk plastic products."
"The first draft of the treaty that will now be developed must reflect the ambition shown by the vast majority of countries here in Paris, and include the global bans and control measures that are needed to reduce and eliminate production and consumption of unnecessary and harmful plastic products and materials," said Marco Lambertini, WWF special envoy.
A business group allied with WWF, the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty, said in a June 5 statement that it was "greatly encouraged" that more than 130 countries had called for binding rules.
The group, which includes consumer product makers like Coca-Cola Co. and Unilever plc, as well as financial institutions, said it hoped diplomats can complete detailed draft text by the Nairobi meeting, and that it includes specific government policy measures.
"Leading businesses recognize that ambitious goals and aspirations to end plastic pollution in a treaty have little value on their own, and hope that the zero draft will contain clear policy measures that help us get there," the coalition said.
The talks saw some significant disagreements between countries.
Saudi Arabia, for example, led activity on the plenary meeting floor that prevented substantive work from moving ahead on two of the five days, saying it wanted the treaty to make decisions by consensus, rather than voting.
Some environmental groups said that reflected fossil fuel producing countries wanting to weaken any potential agreement.