PRESS RELEASE: United Nations Mandate for Global Plastics Treaty a Historic Win

Nairobi, Kenya – In what is being heralded as a historic win for advocates working to tackle the plastic pollution crisis, parties to the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) have agreed on a mandate to negotiate a legally binding treaty addressing the full life cycle of plastics, from production to disposal.

This is a historic achievement. Plastic Pollution Coalition was founded more than a decade ago to dispel myths and euphemisms such as “marine debris,” “litter”, and “waste,” with a simple objective to call it what it is: plastic pollution. Now the same critical shift is happening in practice thanks to the power of millions of allies in the global Break Free From Plastic movement, as policymakers have acknowledged the need to broaden the scope of a new Global Plastics Treaty to include not just the marine impacts of plastics, but its entire life cycle—from extraction to disposal. We know there will be challenging negotiations ahead, but this is real progress. We will continue advocating for a legally binding treaty that addresses the full life cycle of plastics, covers all impacts in all environments, and upholds human rights.

Dianna Cohen, Co-Founder and CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition

Support for a comprehensive treaty has been strong, with over 1,000 civil society groups, 450 scientists, and over one million individuals worldwide joining the call. Key organizations involved in the discussions to date include the Center for International Environmental Law and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, among others. These organizations, along with Plastic Pollution Coalition, are part of the global #breakfreefromplastic movement.

The negotiation of the treaty will continue for the next two years. 

Plastic Pollution Coalition will host a webinar on March 16, 2022, with advocates who were on the ground in Nairobi at UNEA 5.2, to discuss the developments there and how the process will now unfold.

Press Contact: Jen Fela, Vice President, Programs & Communications,

Plastic Pollution Coalition is a global alliance of more than 1,200 organizations, businesses, and thought leaders in 75 countries working toward a more just, equitable world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, waterways, oceans, and the environment.

About Break Free From Plastic: #breakfreefromplastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in 2016, more than 2,000 organizations and 11,000 individual supporters from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. BFFP member organizations and individuals share the shared values of environmental protection and social justice and work together through a holistic approach to bring about systemic change. This means tackling plastic pollution across the whole plastics value chain—from extraction to disposal—focusing on prevention rather than cure and providing effective solutions.