A new report from Nordic countries says the plastics treaty needs specific rules to phase down or redesign problematic or unnecessary plastic products, including hard-to-recycle or litter-prone single-use packaging as well as nonpackaging applications like plastic artificial turf.
The Feb. 1 report from the Nordic Council can be seen as a suggested path forward — from nations that favor a stricter treaty — on how the global accord could make decisions about how and when to phase out some plastic products.
Many countries and stakeholders want the treaty to include some provisions to reduce what are called problematic, unnecessary or avoidable plastic products, but that's been a point of concern for some in the plastics industry at the talks, including the vinyl and expanded polystyrene sectors.
A representative from one European plastics group spoke at the Feb. 1 online launch of the Nordic report, saying they want the treaty to take a life cycle approach to identifying problematic plastics, and use specific criteria to make sure that alternatives don't become "regrettable substitutions."
"What we particularly don't want are arbitrary lists or negative lists of, 'Let's take these products; let's ban them globally,'" said David Carroll, external affairs manager for the trade group Plastics Europe. "We think we need to take a hierarchical series of questions based on the waste hierarchy."