Members of the Global EPS Sustainability Alliance (GESA) will attend this week's United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) INC-3 session on the development of an international legally binding treaty on plastic pollution. The members will attend as accredited observers, holding consultative roles in the negotiations taking place in Nairobi, Kenya.
CROFTON, Md., Nov. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Members of the Global EPS Sustainability Alliance (GESA) an organization brought together to represent the expanded polystyrene (EPS) industry on an international level, are attending the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution's third session (INC-3), taking place this week in Nairobi, Kenya. The GESA coalition represents the EPS industry in Africa, North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Member organizations the European Manufacturers of EPS (EUMEPS), the EPS Industry Alliance (EPS-IA), the EPR Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA), and Expanded Polystyrene Australia (EPSA) are accredited observers of the UNEP Plastic Pollution Treaty, holding consultative roles in the negotiations on its development.
GESA spokespersons Betsy Bowers, Executive Director of EPS-IA and Chresten Heide-Anderson, Project Manager at EPS-branchen and Vice President of EUMEPS have issued the following statement:
"The treaty is an important opportunity to address plastic pollution from a clean-slate perspective and to take a novel approach to problem solving; however, ambitious goals must be balanced with the reality of implementation challenges. Packaging science and environmental science have important roles to play to ensure net-negative environmental impacts don't occur.
The EPS industry recommends the treaty adopt and implement the use of Packaging Product Category Rules that would facilitate the development of Environmental Product Declarations. This approach would expand material comparisons to include energy consumption, ozone depletion, acidification, eutrophication, ecotoxicity and human health impacts.
EPS packaging plays an important role in global distribution of essential goods, and we hope to see the treaty deliver new solutions and to harmonize policies that we see are already working. Environmental Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a tried-and-true policy tool that could achieve faster and more efficient implementation with the help of a harmonized international oversight.
There is great promise that the United Nations member state negotiators will be able to consider policy solutions with careful deliberation and reason. They have a challenging task at hand and GESA is hoping to be an asset to the dialogue."
EPS maintains an essential role in key industries including packaging, construction, transportation, manufacturing, automotive, and food service, among others. Applications such as packaging for the safe and effective transportation of food and vital medicines and vaccines, protective gear to prevent injury, refrigeration components, insulation for housing, and car seats are all made using EPS. The treaty could have a dramatic impact on many of these day-to-day products that many rely upon.
-The Global EPS Sustainability Alliance Supports a Global Plastics Agreement that Creates a Circular Economy for All Plastics and Eliminates Plastic Pollution-
Despite common misperceptions, the EPS industry has maintained long standing efforts which demonstrate the high recycling efficacy for EPS transport packaging, that continue to show consistent growth and strong market support. Recently, several leading resin providers announced their development of proprietary formulas to help fabricators incorporate at least 30% recycled content in the manufacture of many applications, following a collective EPS industry investment of $185M.
GESA advocates for the following positions as part of its environmental policy recommendations:
- We support an ambitious plan to eliminate plastic pollution through an implementable agreement.
- We support the creation of independent national plans of action.
- We support flexibility to achieve circularity and oppose lists of banned or restricted polymers, ingredients, and products.
- We support the adoption of science-based tools including life cycle analysis.
- We support policies that accelerate the implementation of UN SDGs.
GESA's recommended environmental policy, observer submissions and position papers can be read in full here.
GESA advocates for the responsible use of EPS, as well as research-backed solutions and policies that will positively benefit the environmental and the economy. For more information about GESA, visit http://www.globaleps.org.
ABOUT GLOBAL EPS SUSTAINABILITY ALLIANCE (GESA)
The Global EPS Sustainability Alliance is a collaboration between EPS manufacturers, extended producer responsibility PROs, recyclers and others to advance circular economy for expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging in five continents that are working to support environmental policy solutions at local, regional and global levels. This collaborative effort brings together best practices in EPS resource management, sustainable manufacturing, life cycle impact reporting and worldwide recycling data to establish universal resources within the EPS supply chain.
ABOUT UNEP-INC PLASTICS TREATY
In March 2022 at the UN Environment Assembly, a historic resolution was adopted to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution. The resolution requested the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to convene an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop the instrument, which is to be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic, including its production, design, and disposal. The INC began its work during the second half of 2022, with the ambition to complete negotiations by the end of 2024. The third session (INC-3) is scheduled from 13 to 19 November 2023 at the UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Ahead of INC-3, UNEP released the first iteration of the treaty text, otherwise known as the Zero Draft.
SOURCE Global EPS Sustainability Alliance (GESA)