For the first time, InOff Plastic joined the World Circular Economy Forum happening in May 2023 in Helsinki.
Manon took part in a panel discussion on “Upstream measures for circular and sustainable plastics”, alongside Paul Collins from Huhtamaki, Iida Miettinen from Kamupak and Melati Wijsen, founder of Bye Bye Plastic Bags & Youthtopia.
As an introduction to the panel, Ioannis Bakas and Tobias Nielsen from the European Environment Agency focused on some of the root causes of the plastic problems (e.g. fossil lock-in and vested power interests). By investigating alternative feedstock, they highlighted issues concerning regenerative and resilient plastics economy and how to achieve a nature-positive future for plastics.
Roisin Greene, Head of the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) at the World Economic Forum, then shared WEF's views on the need for public private cooperation for upstream plastic action. WEF recognises that upstream measures to tackle plastic pollution have been identified as particularly effective, in sustainably transitioning away from plastics where possible. Roisin Greene highlighted how the global plastic treaty can help rally public private cooperation in weeding out plastic pollution through upstream measures.
In the context of the UN Environment Programme' Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) that happened in Paris and of the coming #PPWR, Manon highlighted the upstream stakes and takeaways seen through InOff Plastic’s work and Planet Reuse - Platform & Network for Reusable Packaging.
In conclusion, the four key messages that the session conveyed are as follows:
Plastics are a crucial part of everyday life but present a key concern for achieving a circular economy and have negative impacts on each of the triple planetary crisis.
Upstream measures play a crucial role in mitigating these negative impacts but are somewhat overlooked and deserve more attention.
Examples of upstream solutions, include better use, increase circularity, and alternative feedstock.
Upstream measures need to become a central part of the plastics systems (and of the forthcoming UN plastic treaty).