Plastics floating in the ocean

From words to action: The Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution

In 2022 UN member states took a historic step by agreeing to begin negotiations on a global treaty to end plastic pollution.

At WRAP we are working with businesses, governments, and NGOs around the world to promote a legally binding Treaty that addresses the entire lifecycle of plastics. A comprehensive, circular economy approach based on the waste hierarchy and framed through the lens of SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production. With elimination, prevention and reuse prioritised.

Our expectation for a high ambition global treaty.

We are working with partners to promote a legally binding international agreement that will:

  • Set clear mandated global rules and obligations to be implemented at a national level, recognising local circumstances and capabilities;  
  • Use a comprehensive circular economy approach, prioritising elimination, minimisation and reuse; 
  • Implement measures to manage plastics that cannot be eliminated, reused or recycled including legacy plastic pollution; 
  • Enable a safe and just transition to a circular economy for all, particularly recognising the role and being inclusive of informal waste workers; 
  • Recognise the contribution of plastics and their production to climate change, and take measures to address this and the role of a circular economy in achieving net zero targets; and 
  • Support implementation at a national, regional and global level by drawing upon the successful approach of existing initiatives such as the Plastics Pacts.  

And we must prioritise:

The reduction of both plastic waste and the emissions generated through the production of new plastics; and 

For necessary plastics, support and encourage material circularity

to ensure that the transition to circularity is accelerated for economies across the world. 

Global Plastics Pact Network: common vision, localised networks

In 2018 we launched the world first, UK Plastics Pact with The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Bringing together leading brands, retailers, and waste management businesses to tackle the plastic pollution crisis. This was the first Pact of its kind and has inspired action globally. Using our blueprint we work with local partners to support Plastics Pacts in 14 countries or regions including South Africa, India and Colombia, bringing together 700+ businesses, governments and NGOs to take voluntary action aligned by a common vision and measurable targets.  

The Plastics Pact model can help nations get ahead: 

Whilst regulation is critical - public/private partnerships delivered through the Plastics Pact model accelerate action and deliver tangible results. 
These collaborative partnerships can play a key role as a mechanism for nations to meet mandated obligations under the United Nations Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution.
The UK Plastics Pact

Case study: The UK Plastics Pact

Discover more

Our blueprint for action.  

Our vision is a circular economy for plastics, capturing their value by keeping them in the economy and out of the natural environment. A vision being realised around the world through a set of ambitious and measurable targets, based on a blueprint of:

Elimination of unnecessary and problematic plastics that are...


avoidable and/or could be replaced with reuseable systems, are not commonly recycled or composted, are not recyclable or hamper recycling, and/or commonly pollute the environment.


Elimination at source will significantly contribute to the net zero agenda since for every tonne of plastic produced, more than 3 tonnes of CO2e is generated.  

Design for reuse and recyclability...

Taking a systems-based approach to consider how single use packaging can be removed or reduced including through reuse systems. And ensure all packaging is designed for ‘in practice’ and ‘at scale’ recycling or composting – moving away from polymers and formats which are not recyclable or compostable at scale.  

Effective recycling in practice and at scale...

Increasing effective recycling - including collection, sorting and recycling of plastics – with targets based on a consistent approach to measurement, and recognizing the critical role of citizens, business and governments in achieving them. While upstream measures are critical, we must recognize the important role of recycling in achieving net zero. Moving up the waste hierarchy and away from landfill, incineration and waste to energy.

In the UK, according to leading waste management operator, Viridor, plastic packaging represents 16% of the input to their Energy from Waste facilities but is responsible for around 70% of the fossil emissions from those facilities.

Inclusion of recycled content...

Driving the market for post-consumer recycled content inclusion based on a flexible approach, recognising that while targets must be ambitious, the level of recycled content may be higher in some polymers and formats than in others.

Incorporating recycled content is important not only to conserve the planet’s resources, but for every tonne of plastic recycled, c800kgs of CO2e is saved.