Global and local initiatives are needed, in the battle against plastic pollution

As global government delegations join together this week in Nairobi to discuss plastic pollution, we discuss how we can also expedite change through local education and engagement…

This week sees global government delegations join together in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss what could be the first global treaty to tackle plastic pollution. The third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee will focus on plastic pollution specifically in the marine environment as well as the core foundations of the Treaty, incorporating key targets for the reduction of primary plastic production and global targets for production reduction, with nationally determined restrictions. If all unfolds as planned, this transformative agreement could be ratified by the close of 2024.

Undoubtedly, this marks a significant stride toward positive environmental change. However, history reminds us that the translation of words into action often takes time. Treaties face potential hindrances, be it in the interpretation of clauses or geopolitical obstacles. We know that time is in rather short supply if we want to avoid the catastrophic consequences plastic pollution does and will continue to have on our planet. Unfortunately, the current trajectory, as projected by the OECD, indicates a tripling of plastic waste by 2060.

So is there a way we can help to expedite change more quickly? And how can we prevent plastic pollution here and now, at a national and local level?

Education and engagement is key.

While global treaties play a crucial part, progress in combating plastic pollution must also combine grassroots efforts. Business leaders and governments at a local level, in addition to globally-led initiatives, must strategize on how to educate and engage communities and consumers to also support a bottom-up approach.

Aura’s Gill Garside-Wight, Director of Consulting comments, ‘It’s positive to see nations coming together to address the pressing issue of plastic pollution this week. I very much hope to see attainable milestones and, in time, tangible results.’

‘However, fostering change requires a dual approach: top-down measures driven by international leaders combined with bottom-up initiatives at a national and community level. Organizations and national governments must consider how they can contribute to this and engage the wider community through proactive initiatives.’

‘For example, at Aura, we used Recycle Week as a platform to engage with UK primary schools and childminders nationwide. We supplied them with engaging posters and conducted interactive assembly sessions to convey key messages on the importance of ‘Recycle’ and ‘Reuse’, with real-life packaging examples that are relevant in children’s day-to-day lives.’

Download Aura’s Recycle Week Posters Here:

Aura’s Charlotte Thompson speaks to children at Ashlands Primary School about ‘Recycle’ and ‘Reuse’.

‘This type of engagement and education helps to shape positive, responsible behaviors, and empowers future generations to consume and use packaging in a more considered way. Crucially, these behaviors can in turn help to slow down and prevent the catastrophic consequences that plastic pollution is having on our beautiful planet. We need global treaties in place to foster change. However, I also believe there are changes we can all make right now, to promote and encourage responsible and ethical packaging behaviors.’

At Aura, we embrace our responsibility to educate and engage organizations on sustainable packaging practice, consulting with businesses of all shapes and sizes. Can we help you to play your part? If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch.

We’re ready to help.