The United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution, expected to be signed in 2024, aims to tackle plastic pollution by setting standards to manage the entire life cycle of plastic products, including design, production, consumption and disposal. Research conducted by the Back to Blue Initiative shows that significant and stringent policy interventions are needed to curb demand, increase product lifespans and improve waste management and recyclability.

Held at the World Ocean Summit 2023 in Lisbon, this session discussed the various policy levers that could stem the environmental impacts of plastics, as well as potential barriers to progress and pathways to implementation. Our panelists, Winnie Lau, Project director, Preventing Ocean Plastics, The Pew Charitable Trust, Felix Cornehl, Senior manager, Systemiq, Alexis Jackson, Ocean policy and plastics lead, The Nature Conservancy, California chapter, and Nicola Lelli Senior adviser, design and market solutions, Alliance to End Plastic Waste, discussed the limitations of bans, how to extend responsibility to retailers and brands to collect and recycle the plastic they put into circulation, and the potential impacts of taxes in different forms along the life cycle of plastic products.

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