Australia joins global efforts to end plastic pollution

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

Australia has joined the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution signalling the Government’s strong ambition to end plastic pollution around the world by 2040 under a new plastic pollution treaty.

Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek announced today that Australia will join the coalition of like-minded countries, co-led by Norway and Rwanda, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Canada, ahead of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee Meeting (INC1) in Uruguay later this year.

Internationally, plastic production and consumption across the globe is set to triple by 2060. If we do nothing, experts predict plastics in oceans could outweigh fish by 2050.

The High Ambition Coalition’s overarching goal is to end plastic pollution by 2040 by:

  • restraining the consumption and production of plastic to sustainable levels
  • enabling a circular economy for plastics in which plastic products are either reused, recycled or remanufactured when no longer useful or required for their initial purposes
  • achieving environmentally sound management and recycling of waste plastic.
  • Australia has also signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, fulfilling Minister Plibersek’s promise at the UN Oceans Conference that Australia would sign up to the Global Commitment by the end of the year.

The Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme, brings together over 500 signatories including governments and industry, to work towards a common vision for a circular economy for plastics.

The High Ambition Coalition and the Global Commitment are both opportunities for Australia to play a key international role in addressing plastic pollution, and reflect Australia’s leadership on this vital issue.

Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment and Water, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP:

“Plastic pollution is a global problem and it’s going to require global solutions.

“That’s why we’re delighted to join the High Ambition Coalition and the Global Commitment. We need to work hard and we need to work together. No one nation can solve the problem alone.

“My vision is for us to achieve a plastic-free Pacific within our lifetime.

“Here at home, we’re feeling the impacts of unsustainable global plastic production.

“In the Torres Strait and Timor Sea, abandoned fishing gear is killing marine animals on an industrial scale.

“The Albanese Labor Government is committed to protecting our unique environment. I met last month with state and territory environment ministers and agreed to reform the regulation of plastic packaging by 2025. This will ensure that all packaging available in Australia is designed to be recovered, reused, recycled and reprocessed safely in line with circular economy principles.

“Through the High Ambition Coalition and the Global Commitment, we look forward to strengthening partnerships across the globe to stamp out plastic pollution.”

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