Wildsight has joined with a group of 188 environmental groups who collectively issued a joint position paper calling for an end to single-use products ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly, which takes places virtually on Feb. 22 to 23.
The paper, entitled “From Single Use to Systems Change” highlights the impact that disposable products have on the environment, including wildlife, human health and vulnerable communities.
At the United Nations Environment Assembly representatives from 193 member states will discuss the theme of Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Humans produce an average of two billion tonnes of waste every year, a number projected to rise by 70 per cent by 2050, and single use products such as plastic cutlery are a major contributor.
“We’re depleting the very life support systems that we all need to survive, simply for the supposed convenience of single-use products,” said Tamara Stark, campaigns director of Canopy, one of the organizations who contributed to the paper. “Doing away with disposables will not only reduce waste but help address climate change, protect forests, and stop microplastics from poisoning marine life.”
While the paper acknowledges the need for actions on an individual level, the contributing groups say that the bulk of the responsibility for change falls on the decision makers behind the systems themselves: governments, business leaders, investors and financial institutions.
The paper indicates specific actions to be taken at those high levels to transform productions systems, reduce overall raw material use and consumption and spur innovation.
“Too often, it is the most vulnerable people in our societies that bear the brunt of these polluting products – which contaminate local food supplies, clog landfills, and poison water and soil with toxic chemicals,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator of the global Break Free From Plastic movement.
“It’s high time that we make corporations and industries that are driving global pollution and the climate crisis accountable for their actions. We need to see radical change in how products are delivered to people, without the use of harmful and polluting packaging.”
Scot Quaranda of Dogwood Alliance, adds that “paper versus plastic has always been a false choice,” as that leads to more logging of forests, which are vital to reduce carbon dioxide and protect against further climate change, plus the added pollution from paper mills.
“After watching our environmental safeguards decimated over the last several years in the U.S., it is high time we and other industrialized nations take the lead on shifting to more sustainable production methods and products.”
The Environmental Paper Network, another advocate for abandoning single-use products and systems, recently launched a new website www.solvingpackaging.org.
The site serves as an aid for anyone hoping to move away from disposable products.
The joint paper From Single Use to Systems Change can be read in full at the link here http://www.canopyplanet.org/single-use-to-systems-change