From waste to worth: TOMRA’s path to improving plastic circularity

NORWAY – Provider of technology solutions for reverse vending and material recovery, TOMRA has released its 10 recommendations for a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Plastics Treaty.

The recommendations were published in advance of the INC3, the third International Negotiation Committee Meeting that will take place from the 13th to the 17th of November 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya.

According to UNEP, an estimated 11 million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans every year, leading to the destruction of aquatic ecosystems, the endangerment of wildlife, and a host of other environmental and health-related issues.

TOMRA, in collaboration with waste management consultancy Eunomia, have identified the top-performing waste management solutions by looking at successful systems from around the world.

By understanding what has made these systems successful, it is possible to reduce litter, maximize recycling rates, lower carbon emissions, and boost the circular economy in a relatively short amount of time.

The UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution provides a unique opportunity to make this a reality. The identified solutions utilize three key elements: Deposit return systems, which produce extremely high plastic collection rates (90% and above), the separate collection of organic, textile, e-waste, paper, and glass and mixed waste sorting prior to disposal coupled with advanced mechanical recycling to produce virgin-like recycled plastic.

These systems can be adapted to meet local needs, helping to strengthen the global circular economy and involve waste pickers in meaningful work.

TOMRA believes that extended producer responsibility policies and other pieces of legislation must be implemented urgently and effectively to ensure the successful implementation of effective systems.

Additionally, TOMRA recommends other effective options to promote the sustainable production and consumption of plastic products and packaging, to transition towards a circular economy.

“The UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution has the potential to bring about a much-needed transformation in the way we manage and recycle plastic waste,” said TOMRA’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Wolfgang Ringel.

“TOMRA is committed to developing innovative solutions that will bring an end to plastic pollution and pave the way towards a circular economy for plastics, and we hope our 10 recommendations will serve as a valuable contribution to the UNEP’s efforts to create an effective international legally binding instrument.”

TOMRA’s 10 recommendations provide a comprehensive and actionable approach to improve plastic circularity. By working together on a global scale, a future can be created where plastic pollution is a thing of the past.

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