Towards an improved international framework to govern the life cycle of plastics
Current international and regional frameworks provide a fragmented approach to the global governance of the life cycle of plastics. Three options to address marine litter have recently been published and presented at the third meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly. This article outlines two options for a new international architecture, leaving to the side the third option of maintaining the status quo. The first suggests a global voluntary agreement that supplements the appropriate revisions and strengthening of relevant existing instruments. The second option provides for a global agreement that combines binding and voluntary measures. Whether the approach is binding or voluntary, strong integration with industry must be a primary outcome for either to be effective. The article discusses the merits of these options and considers where the authority for a new international instrument could come from.