Insights: Global Insights

What Does the Zero Draft Mean for the United Nations Plastics Treaty?

On September 4, 2023, the UN released the “Zero Draft” of the Plastics Treaty which will be used to guide the upcoming meetings of the intergovernmental negotiation committee as they work to complete the first draft of the Plastics Treaty. The Plastics Treaty was developed to add uniformity to complex sustainable packaging regulations.

The Zero Draft contains 13 areas of concern broadly structured around the life cycle of plastics and plastic products. Each concern has multiple options to choose from to address it, with the first option being the most binding and the last being the least binding.

If the most binding options are chosen nations would be required to:

• Eliminate chemicals and polymers of concern in plastic production.
• Not allow the production, sale, distribution, import, or export of short-lived and single-use plastic (SUP) products.
• Require plastics and plastic products produced within its territory and those available on its market to comply with the minimum design and performance criteria set out and contain minimum percents of recycled plastic.
• Achieve set minimum plastic reduction, reuse, refill, and repair targets.
• Establish and operate extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems.
• Take effective measures to ensure that plastic waste is managed in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

If this UN Plastics Treaty is signed and ratified, it may bring some level of harmonization to this arena of policy or create another wave of regulatory changes in various markets, to which companies using these materials to package their food products will have to adapt. To stay on top of the ever-evolving packaging regulations sign up for our free e-newsletter.

Read more about the future of packaging here.

Read the full Zero Draft.