Plastics vs. Planet: Upcoming Global Plastics Treaty Negotiations

The Ecology Center has a decades-long record of battling disposable plastic packaging. From the nation’s first styrofoam foodware ban (1988) to the  Report of the Berkeley Plastics Task Force (1996), to Berkeley’s Disposable Foodware Reduction Ordinance (2019), the Ecology Center has led the way for our community, the environment, and the nation.  We have locked arms with our like-minded non-profit recyclers and co-founded the Alliance of Mission-Based Recyclers (AMBR) to leverage our voices at the national and international levels. We have been actively trying to get the US and other nations to be bold and ambitious in adopting a global plastics treaty and will attend the INC 4, the next session of UNEP negotiations that is taking place at the end of Earth Month. 

In less than a week, the Ecology Center, representing AMBR, will embark on an important trip to Ottawa, Canada alongside our partners from the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement and GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) to attend INC-4. The aim of this process is to create a legally binding instrument  to end plastic pollution, which is to be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic, including its production, design, and disposal. But as the last sessions demonstrated, not all member states are working towards this goal in good faith. 

As a mission-based recycler, the Ecology Center will be there, steadfast in our commitment to refute false solutions like plastic to fuel and so-called “Advanced Recycling,” which is neither. Plastic pollutes at every stage of its production, use, and disposal. While some plastic bottles and jugs can be recycled, most plastic cannot and plastic packaging contaminates and degrades other more recyclable things like cardboard, aluminum, and glass. We see plastic as trashing recycling, and we can’t recycle our way out of plastic pollution.

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