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Spotlight on Sustainable Development: reshaping governance to reduce the production and consumption of plastics

Focus on sustainable development: reshape governance to reduce the production and consumption of plastics

. In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity of mankind and the earth. However, four years later, the world was off track in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and most governments failed to translate the transformational vision of the 2030 Agenda into real policies.

Fortunately, there are signs of change. New social movements have emerged around the world. They not only challenge bad or inefficient government policies, but also promote a more comprehensive approach to determining how and where power is granted. In this context, since 2016, global civil society has issued an annual report assessing structural obstacles and institutional gaps in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

"The 2019 Focus Report shows that structural transformation is needed more than ever. It must start at the local and national levels, and needs to strengthen bottom-up governance and governance consistency." Jens Martens, Global Policy Forum, "Renew Examining Sustainable Hardware", Focus Report 2019

The 2019 Focus Report provides analysis and recommendations on the global governance of sustainable development, as well as how to strengthen participatory governance, and at the same time present challenges and calls for action to world leaders before the September 2019 Sustainable Development Goals Summit.

"Simple software updates are not enough-we must re-examine and reshape sustainable hardware at all levels." Jens Martens, Global Policy Forum, "Re-examine sustainable hardware", 2019 Focus Report

SDG12-Measures to reduce plastic production and consumption

As part of a growing social movement, Zero Waste Europe helps to evaluate the 12th Sustainable Development Goal that ensures sustainable consumption and production patterns. Our consumer and production activist Larissa Copello (Larissa Copello) wrote a chapter to address the main challenges and highlight possible solutions to the current unsustainable plastic life cycle.

"Our current way of producing and consuming plastics is unsustainable. The mass production and consumption of plastics, especially single-use plastic products, has greatly exacerbated the plastic pollution crisis, severely affected our ecosystems, endangered animal life, and threatened. Human health." Larissa Copello, production and consumption activist in Zero Waste Europe

Over the past 50 years, global plastic consumption has increased by more than 20 times, and plastic production has reached 320 million tons per year. The impact of plastic waste, especially disposable and disposable items-such as bags, straws, bottles and most food packaging-is increasing as more and more plastic waste accumulates in our environment and oceans .

Because our current way of producing and consuming plastics is linear and inefficient, we have reached unprecedented levels of pollution. Therefore, solving this problem requires a significant reduction in plastic production, especially disposable plastic production, and finally rethinking the way of economic development.

how? The change movement (just) started

Due to the impact of plastics on the world’s oceans, the environment, and our health and people’s growing awareness of the impact of plastics, many organizations have gathered forces to unite for the same vision: a future without plastic pollution.

Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) is one of the largest global movements, aiming to envision a future without plastic pollution. Since its launch in 2016, nearly 1,500 organizations around the world have joined, demanding large-scale reductions in the use of single-use plastics and promoting durable solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. Due to the influence and hard work of this movement, some countries have taken important measures to reduce the use of single-use plastics. In Europe, tackling plastic pollution has always been a key priority on the EU’s agenda. In January 2018, the European Commission launched its circular economy plastics strategy. In December 2018, the European Union agreed to a groundbreaking new law to reduce the environmental impact of certain plastic products, the so-called single-use plastics (SUP) directive ( To learn more about the SUP command: see our recommendations).

However, the single-use plastic (SUP) directive is only the first step. Changing the current plastic production and consumption methods requires a good balance between regulations and incentives. Government policies can play an important role in promoting the necessary paradigm shift from downstream solutions such as recycling to upstream solutions (including reduction and prevention). , And alternative business models. Due to the borderless nature of plastic pollution, a global solution is needed.

"The international community needs to unite and agree on an ambitious framework to resolve the crisis: we need a legally binding international agreement to solve the problem of plastic pollution in a life-cycle manner and promote the prevention of plastic waste." Larissa Copello, production and consumption activist for Zero Waste Europe

Main points of ZWE:

All economic actors—producers, policymakers, companies, and consumers—must take game-changing steps. It is worth noting that urgent measures need to be taken in three key areas:

Plastics that cannot be recycled should not be produced in the first place, disposable items, including plastic or any other materials, should be restricted to reusable solutions on the market, and reusable places should be promoted and expanded as much as possible. The whole world should follow this. A global movement to implement the right economic incentives and prohibit wasteful disposable products: these measures can indeed open the door to innovative alternatives

Do you want to learn more about how to address the Sustainable Development Goals? Read the entire chapter of "Measures to Reduce Plastic Production and Consumption" or download the "2019 Sustainability Focus Report".

To learn more about single-use plastics (SUP): read our latest blog!

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