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Global Rules in a New Global Treaty: Asia's opportunity to end single-use plastic pollution

Report Cover "Global Rules in a New Global Treaty"

© WWF Philippines


Global Rules in a New Global Treaty: Asia's opportunity to end single-use plastic pollution


Mederake, Linda; Knoblauch, Doris (2022): Global rules in a new global treaty: Asia's opportunity to end single-use plastic pollution. Published in July 2022 by WWF Philippines.

In March 2022, at the resumed fifth meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly, UN Member States adopted the historic decision to start negotiating a global treaty to combat plastic pollution. As national delegations and relevant stakeholders in Asia start preparing for the upcoming negotiations, this report by Linda Mederake and Doris Knoblauch (both Ecologic Institute), aims to provide an analysis of the region’s opportunities to end single-use plastics (SUPs) pollution through the development of this new global treaty.

No other plastic usage represents the problem of plastic pollution as much as single-use plastics do. They are the most common type of plastics produced, and, at the same time, the most littered in the environment. SUP consumption is booming worldwide, with Asia being no exception. On the contrary: Asia is experiencing increasing levels of SUP consumption due to rapid economic growth, urbanization, and changing consumption and production patterns including the increase of E-commerce and rising sales of processed and packaged food. Last but not least, a "sachet economy" has been established with small portions of products (e.g., instant coffee, shampoo) being sold for convenience and to target especially the large population groups with lower purchasing power.

This report

  • identifies the top five problematic SUP items in Asia along the following eight criteria: prevalence, leakage volume, environmental harm, economic costs, lack of recycling potential, human health risks, social justice impacts, and potential for reduction,
  • outlines the policy pathways most often recommended tackling the existing problems with these SUPs based on the potential impact of the respective policies, the ease in implementing and enforcing a certain policy, and existing experiences and best practices to learn from,
  • discusses potential content of the new international legally binding instrument to address the most problematic SUP items.

The report is based on a literature review of available information and materials published in English between 2018 and 2022.

The new international legally binding agreement holds great potential for a globally orchestrated action against SUP pollution.


More content from this project


Design: Jennifer Rahn (Ecologic Institute)

Published by
22 pp.
Project ID
single-use plastics, international plastics agreement, plastics regulation
desk-based research, literature study