In March 2022, at the resumed fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2), a historic resolution was adopted to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. The resolution (5/14) requested the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to convene an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop “the instrument,” which is to be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic, including its production, design and disposal. The INC began its work during the second half of 2022, with the ambition to complete the negotiations by the end of 2024. The first session of the INC (INC-1) took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay from 28 November to 2 December 2022, followed by a second session (INC-2) in Paris, France from 29 May to 2 June 2023. The third session (INC-3) is now scheduled from 13 to 19 November 2023 at the UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
The third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-3), is scheduled to take place from 13 to 19 November 2023 at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The session will be preceded by regional consultations on 12 November 2023. Also as decided by the Committee at its second session, a preparatory one-day meeting will take place on 11 November 2023, at the same venue. At its second session, the INC requested the Secretariat to invite written submissions from observer organizations (deadline 15 August 2023) and Members of the Committee (deadline 15 September 2023) with more information available here.
In response, last May 2023, the Producer Responsibility Coalition published the document “Key tools to better include extended producer responsibility in the international treaty on plastic pollution”, signed by all members of EXPRA-Extended Producer Responsibility and ProsPA – Producer Responsibility Organizations Packaging Alliance.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes are organisational mechanisms for the prevention and management of waste that concern certain types of products and are primarily based on the polluter-pays principle. This principle emphasizes the idea of extended producer responsibility, according to which producers, i.e., the legal persons responsible for placing certain products on the market (namely producers, brand owners and importers), with government oversight, are made responsible for financing and organizing the reduction, prevention and management of waste from these products at the end of their life. In that respect, it has to be empahsized that the EPR scheme is not a tax.
Contributions from producers are thus directly used by the Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) to improve the environmentally responsible end-of-life management of the product they cover. This contribution does not require additional budgetary resources from governments and is not “absorbed” into the overall public expenditure. In order to meet the principles of EPR, producers usually organize themselves collectively to fulfill their obligations within the framework of PROs, , in different business models (single-provider or PRO in competition, non-profit/for profit) which are all authorized by responsible government oversight
bodies. The mission of these PROs is to meet the challenges of reduction, reuse and recycling in the circular economy, thus playing a key role to the fight against climate change, the preservation of resources and biodiversity, and the reduction of carbon impact of product placed on the market.
They, PROs have several complementary missions:
- waste-prevention and awareness-raising among private consumers;
- limiting littering via collecting and subsequently recycling packaging waste;
- improving eco-design of the combination of product and packaging – in order to meet the climate-biodiversity challenges of lifecycle analyses and new consumer habits;
- collection and sorting in cooperation with the municipalities and waste management producers depending on the administrative, geographical and demographic structures;
- support for the development of new circular economy sectors focusing on reduction, reuse and recycling by R&D to enhance the material value chain from collection to recycling.
More information here