Global Plastic Pollution and the Transition Towards a Circular Economy: Lessons from the EU's Legal Framework on Plastics

Marlon Boeve*, Ida Mae de Waal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Since the 1950s, billions of tons of primary plastic waste have been generated around the globe to date. Instead of the current linear make-use-dispose plastic economy, a circular plastics economy is said to be able to reduce plastic pollution in the environment. Recently, the United Nations Environment Assembly adopted a resolution to forge a globally binding treaty addressing plastic pollution by addressing the full life cycle of plastics and by taking such a circular approach. A circular approach for plastics has already been adopted by the EU. Therefore, this contribution sets out some lessons that the UN Treaty can learn from the implementation of the EU's circular approach for plastics. These relate to the restriction on placing on the market of certain plastic products, the introduction of ecodesign requirements and the establishment of EPR schemes. The EU legal framework on plastics shows that it is important to take into account the inherent interlinkage between not only plastic life cycle stages, but also between the different provisions and obligations, in order to maximize the contribution to and unlock synergies in tackling plastic pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-472
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Law
Volume53
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Circular Economy
  • EU Plastics Strategy
  • Global plastic pollution
  • UN Plastic Treaty

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