May 3, 2024 - Economy

Postcard from UN plastics treaty negotiations in Ottawa

photo of an art installation made from plastics outside of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada

"The Giant Plastic Tap" sculpture by Benjamin Von Wong sat across the street from where the fourth round of negotiations for the UN plastics treaty took place in Ottawa, Canada, in April 2024. Photo: Hope King/Axios

I was among nearly 3,000 people who traveled from around the world to Ottawa, Canada, late last month to talk and think about the problem of global plastic pollution.

  • Why it matters: The United Nations has a goal of creating a legally binding global plastics treaty aimed at everything from cutting production to creating a circular economy that could impact nearly every sector — from oil and chemical to packaged goods and retail.

The big picture: Much like the energy transition, solutions to this problem will be complex, expensive and highly localized.

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