Chapter 9.2.1 Strategic approaches

Embed justice in the UN Plastics Treaty

The UK Government should seek to use its influence to ensure that justice is a key plank of the UN plastics treaty, an international agreement that will set obligations on countries across the entire plastics lifecycle.

UK Govt
Scottish Govt
Local Authorities
Behaviour change
Emissions reduction

The UK Government must recognise that plastic pollution is not just an environmental problem but also a social one which affects millions of humans and so push for a treaty that fully addresses the impacts of plastic pollution on people living in poverty.

The UK Government has signed up as members of a High Ambition Coalition for the treaty – a group of countries who want an ambitious treaty that brings an end to plastic pollution by 2040 – and as part of this the UK government should include in its negotiating position for a far-reaching plastic treaty measures around:

  • Reduction: legally binding targets to reduce plastic production and scale up reuse solutions
  • Recycling: universal access to waste collection and recycling
  • Respect: support for waste pickers, including a Just Transition
  • Response: mechanisms to ensure businesses and governments take action

For further information: Plastic pollution and poverty, Tearfund, 2022,

Version 1.0: September 2023

The contents of this document will be updated on a regular basis.