Reloop UN Plastic Treaty amendments

This text is intended to support the negotiations around the ‘Revised draft text of the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment’ (henceforth, ‘the revised draft’). The revised draft includes a range of Options under each of a range of measures. The text below is the outcome of a process in which: 

  • Our focus was on Parts II and III of the revised draft; 
  • We further concentrated our attention on those aspects considered:  
  • The revised draft text was considered as the basis for what has emerged; and 
  • Where we considered it necessary to do so, additional elements were added.   

In respect of macro-plastics, we take the view that unless the international legally binding instrument was to deliver a complete phase out of plastic production and use, that a huge gulf exists in respect of the current systems of waste management in place, and those that are needed to prevent plastics flowing into rivers and seas. The Global Waste Management Outlook recently published by UNEP places the figure for those without a waste collection service at 2.7 billion. A separate document seeks to provide a starting point for discussions around objectives for waste collection coverage, and for some targets for improved waste recycling, as a starting point for discussion (recognising that the revised draft includes no details in this regard).

Reloop would like to thank Dr Dominic Hogg for his valuable expertise and input on this revised draft text.

Dr Dominic Hogg

Equanimator Ltd

About Dominic

Dr Dominic Hogg has worked as a consultant on policy and strategy related to plastics, the circular economy and waste for 30 years.

He has extensive experience in helping nations and governing bodies develop policy and law in relation to these issues. He brings a range of expertise, including on extended producer responsibility (including deposit return schemes), tradable allowances (including economic and econometric analysis of the UK’s scheme for packaging recovery notes), taxes and levies (for example, on single-use items), and regulatory instruments.

He supported the European Commission’s work developing the legislative package in support of the circular economy, and the development of the Single-use Plastics Directive.

He has an Honours Degree in Physics from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge.

For almost 20 years, he was Chairman of Eunomia Research & Consulting, which he founded in 2001. He now works as Director of Equanimator Ltd, and is supporting Reloop to inform the UN’s International Legally Binding Instrument on plastic pollution.

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  1. Each Party shall identify at the national level a list of problematic and avoidable plastic products with a view to addressing the pollution they cause. It shall do so in line with the procedure set out in this Article. 
  2. In line with measure 11(2)(b) below, each Party shall identify items contributing to plastic pollution which satisfy at least one of the following criteria with a view to taking measures as indicated in para 3: 

The listing shall be made no later than 24 months after this Treaty enters into force [and submitted to the governing body]. Parties are encouraged to exceed the above criteria. 

  1. For each of the items identified,  


  1. The necessary measures must be taken to phase out the production, sale, distribution, import or export of the plastic products identified. The phase out period must respect the following criteria: 


  1. The items must be included within a deposit return scheme, to be implemented no later than 24 months after the item being included in the relevant list. The scheme must achieve the following outcomes: 
  1. The measures taken to implement this provision, including the appropriate nationally determined timeframes for phase-out, shall be reflected in the national plan communicated pursuant to [Part IV.1 on national plans].  
  2. The governing body* shall develop guidance on acceptable methods for the sampling used to select the products at para 2. This will include a suggested classification of ‘items’, and a list of default item weights for use where these are unavailable. 
  1. Each Party shall not allow the production, use in manufacturing, sale, distribution, import or export of products containing intentionally added microplastics, other than in those permitted uses specified in part IV of annex B. Part V of annex B sets out the timetable for these actions to be given effect. 
  2. Parties are also encouraged to phase out the use of IAMs in those applications set out in part IV of annex B, and may take measures, as appropriate and consistent with its national laws, to control the use or manufacture of these products. Such measures could include a Party taking actions to address their production, use in manufacturing, sale, distribution, import or export. 

List of permitted uses of microplastics.

Timing of ban (for different country groupings). 

Note as a possible addition, given that this Article relates, in the main, to producers of products, matters could be speeded up by indicating in a separate clause that where a company produces products containing IAMs in more than one Party, it must phase out IAMs wherever it produces them on the earliest date by which the ban is to be met in any of the countries where its products are sold. This might help overcome objections in relation to a company dumping its IAM products in countries with later deadlines. An alternative is simply to set the same date for all Parties. 

5a. Product design  

  1. Each Party shall take measures to align the design of products with the objective of this Treaty. Products and packaging should be designed so that, in the aggregate:
  1. For products set out at Part I-A of Annex C, each Party shall implement necessary policy and law to require those plastics and plastic products produced within its territory or imported for consumption within its territory, including through distant selling, to comply with the minimum design criteria contained in Part I-B of Annex C within the timeframe defined in that annex. Beyond the applicable timeframe, those products in Part I-A of Annex C shall not be placed on the market of any Party. 
  2. The governing body* shall establish and maintain certification procedures and labelling requirements for plastics and plastic products to demonstrate compliance with the design and performance criteria and other related elements contained in part II of annex C.  
  3. For products not listed in Part I-A of Annex C, products that meet criteria set out in Part I-C of Annex C or include elements set out in Part I-D of Annex C, the governing body* shall establish rules regarding labelling and marketing in relation to these criteria and elements.  
  4. Parties are encouraged to recognise the varying implications of design for the objectives set out in Para 1 by recognising the following features for given product types, in the order of preference proposed, in their public procurement: 
  1. Parties are also encouraged to consider measures to give incentives for improved design through using: 
  1. The governing body shall work with relevant national, and international organizations towards the development of standards and guidelines, taking into account the nature of, and purpose served by, the product, to support the objective of this Treaty.  
  2. Parties deemed eligible for support for capacity building as per [Part III Financing Annex XXX] will receive support to prepare nationally relevant policy and law, and for appropriate communication of, and subsequent administration and enforcement, so as to ensure effective implementation of this Article.  
  3. Businesses acting in more than one Party and who are suspected to be breaching the terms of policy and law in the territory of a Party to the Treaty as regards the substance of this Article, may, without prejudice, be subject to sanctions under the terms of another Party where the business operates as if the activity leading to the suspected breach had taken place in the jurisdiction of that Party. 

List of Products for which there are design criteria set.

Design criteria for the products listed, and date by which they must be met.



  1. Each Party shall, based on guidance to be adopted by the governing body* at its first session, take effective measures to reduce the use of plastics through, as relevant, reuse, refill, repair, remanufacture, repurposing and refurbishment of products used within its territory. Systems for reuse, refill and remanufacture are required to meet the criteria set out in Part II-A of Annex C. 
  2. Each Party shall take measures, including the use of regulatory measures, and economic instruments (including levies and taxes, and use of public procurement), to support the activities mentioned in para 1.  
  3. For those products listed in Part II-B of Annex C, Parties shall meet the targets set out therein within the timeframe set out in Part II-C of Annex C, the timeframe reflecting the differentiated capabilities of the Parties.  
  4. Parties are encouraged to work with relevant international organizations at the multilateral level towards the development of standards and guidelines for reuse and refill systems. 
  5. The measures taken shall be reported in the national plan communicated pursuant to [Part IV.1 on national plans]. 

Criteria to qualify as reuse, refill, remanufacture systems. 

List of target products and performance targets. 

Target dates for different products (varied by country grouping). 

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  1. Each Party shall establish, in policy and law, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) systems with statutory force, and of national scope, covering the products contained in Part 1 of annex D. 
  1. The EPR systems are to be based on the modalities in Part 2 of annex D which reflect the specificity of the products and mechanisms, and taking into account the different circumstances and capabilities of the Parties, as set out in Part 3 of annex D. Parties are strongly encouraged to extend the application of their EPR systems to products of the type laid down in Part 1 of Annex D which are made from materials other than plastic.  
  1. The EPR systems shall ensure that producers cover the range of costs set out in Part 4 of annex D with a view to achieving improved collection rates and higher recycling rates (in line with targets set out in Part 3 of annex D), and addressing problems of littering (see also Measure 8). Systems should also consider incentivising increased recyclability, or product longevity as appropriate in accordance with Part 2 of Annex D. 
  1. Parties shall, in implementing this provision, take into account how the measures taken would contribute to a just transition.  
  1. Each Party shall ensure that all fees collected from producers (directly or indirectly) under EPR systems are used solely for the purposes of paying for the services whose costs the fees are intended to cover (accepting the need for reasonable administrative costs to be covered). This is without prejudice to the right of each Party to levy, separately, taxes on the producers of plastics and plastic products as deemed appropriate to meet the objectives of this Treaty, or for other purposes deemed relevant by the Party.  
  1. The measures introduced shall be described in the national plan communicated pursuant to [Part IV.1 on national plans], and their performance monitored in line with [CROSS REF Part IV) using methodologies consistent with Part II 9 (X – see below).. 

Scope of EPR – which product types, e.g.; Packaging; Waste electrical and electronic items (including cabling); Textiles / Shoes; End of life vehicles; disposable items not covered by Measure 3a or the above (toothbrushes, household goods / utensils, toys);

wastes from construction and demolition

Modalities for EPR (with specific adaptations / variants according to product type, and according to mechanism (such as where a Deposit Refund System (DRS) is used)).

We suggest that there is a ‘core’ set (requirements), as well as ‘nice-to-haves’ (fee modulation would be in the latter – it is virtually impossible to include this in an international Treaty in the ‘harmonising way’ some producers suggest they would like) which Parties would be encouraged to consider.

Core ‘requirements’:

  1. Fees are set in relation to the costs incurred by the products / packages used, unless they are being modulated. Where fees are modulated, they should be modulated based in the first instance on the cost recovery principle;
  2. The fees are paid to a single entity which then disburses funds to municipalities (or other collectors) in lieu of the costs to be covered by the scheme. These costs may be identified through activity based costing, or other measures, which identify the efficient cost of service delivery.
  3. The responsibilities of different actors – notably, municipalities and producers – are made clear, and rendered consistent with what is in waste management and local government legislation. In particular, it shall be clear who has operational responsibility for waste throughout the supply chain, and it shall be clear who is responsible for covering the costs of different steps in that supply chain.
  4. The financial transactions of the entity must be transparent, and all funds must be spent on activities whose costs are to be covered by the scheme with a view to delivering services in an efficient manner.
  5. If the responsibility for meeting targets lies with producers, then producers must have the ability to influence the performance outcomes of the scheme themselves. For example, if producers are not responsible for waste collection themselves, the collection service for which they are paying must be specified with the intention of meeting targets. If they are not responsible, operationally, for sorting or collection, then it should be considered whether it is reasonable for producers to have responsibility for meeting targets.

Table for each product of:  

  • Collection rate 
  • Recycling rate 

Scope of cost coverage (by product type) – including litter clean-up costs.

Also, principles for allocation of costs to sub-categories of the identified products.

  1. Each Party shall take measures to prevent and, wherever feasible, eliminate the emissions and releases of plastic polymers, plastics (including microplastics) and plastic products wherever they occur in circumstances amenable to influence by the Party, whether to air, water or land. This includes through taking actions to implement other Multilateral Environmental Agreements. The emissions and releases covered under this provision include emissions and releases of chemicals of concern and hazardous substances as [listed in part II of Annex A], associated with the manufacture of plastics and plastic products, whether in primary or secondary (i.e. recycled) form.

Production / waste management 

  1. In line with para 1,each Party shall take measures to address, through appropriate regulatory measures, including licensing / permitting conditions of processes which are designed to reflect best practice, emissions and releases covered under Para 1 from production, manufacturing, storage, handling, transport, and end-of-life management, including in the context of re-use, collection of waste materials, sorting, recycling, and treatment and disposal of waste, taking into account, as appropriate, the relevant activities of the International Maritime Organization and the MARPOL Convention as well as other agreements such as the Cartagena, London, and OSPAR Conventions.  

Fishing gear 

  1. Each Party shall cooperate and take effective measures across the whole lifecycle of fishing and aquaculture gear to prevent, reduce and eliminate, abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing and aquaculture gear and promote design for repair and for recycling, taking into account internationally agreed rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures. In particular, Parties shall take measures to:
  1. Parties are encouraged to cooperation, coordination, and exchange of information, including the sharing of best practices, as appropriate, on enhancing the environmentally sound collection, and management of fishing gear in line with the preference ordering [as per sub-para 3 a (iii) above].  

Wastes Generated at sea / on rivers  

  1. Each Party shall take measures to ensure that wastes generated by human activity during all forms of water-borne transport are not discarded directly into the environment. Strategies shall include: 
  • Regulatory measures (for example, regarding restriction on the sale of products whilst on-board; on-board provision for sustainable management of waste; sanctions where deliberate emissions to the environment occur); 
  • Requirement for proper provision of waste management facilities at ports and other places where vessels are berthed, or where they temporarily land or stop; 
  1. Each Party shall promote collaboration between Parties and relevant industry sectors and stakeholders, including fisheries, port reception facilities, waste management, and recycling. 

Secondary microplastics 

  1. Parties will take measures to reduce the emissions and releases of secondary microplastics resulting from the use of plastics, and products containing plastics or / and microplastics. Sectors of focus should include those listed in Annex E Part I. 
  2. Parties shall cooperate in the promulgation of standards for relevant products, processes and working practices with a view to, in this order of priority:  
  1. Part II of Annex E includes measures to be taken and standards to be implemented in the sectors outlined in Part I of Annex E. Particular attention shall be given to ensuring simultaneous implementation across Parties of the standards alluded to above so as to prevent ‘dumping’ of products in less developed countries which may lead to greater emissions and releases of microplastics. The governing body*, at its first session, shall  adopt  sectoral guidelines, to facilitate implementation of Part II of Annex E. 
  1. Parties shall take measures to minimise the extent to which plastic products are discarded directly into the environment. Parties are encouraged to: 
  1. Services designed to achieve the objectives set out in sub-para 10 a and 10 b shall be financed by producers through extended producer responsibility in proportion to their contribution to the costs of clean-up in the (see Measure 7).  
  2. Parties are encouraged to promote scientific and technical innovation, including through the cooperation mechanism* referred to in [Part III, article number yet to be defined], to prevent and capture any releases of plastics and plastic products, including microplastics, into the environment, particularly through strengthening cooperation among members, a commitment of sharing knowledge and transfer of technology, based on good faith and common understanding, from developed to developing countries. 
  3. The measures taken to implement the provisions of this article shall be reflected in the national plan communicated pursuant to [Part IV.1 on national plans].  

Sectors releasing microplastics.

Measures / standards related to sectoral releases of microplastics.  

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  1. Each Party shall take effective measures, adopting a sectoral approach where necessary, to ensure that plastic waste is managed in a safe and environmentally sound manner throughout its handling, collection, sorting, transportation, storage, recycling, treatment and final disposal, recognising the need to prioritise activities in the upper tiers of the waste hierarchy, and the special circumstances of small island developing States. Taking into account the broader issues associated with climate change, and with pollution control, Parties are strongly encouraged to integrate efficient, environmentally sound and cost-effective means of managing plastic wastes within strategies for management of all wastes, including non-plastic wastes.  
  2. Each Party is encouraged to adopt environmentally sound waste management practices, including by regulating waste management practices to control emissions of substances harmful to human health and the environment. This includes requiring facilities that handle or manage or transform plastic wastes to take measures to prevent the escape of macro- and micro-plastics from the sites being operated (see also Part II Measure 8). Emissions of key pollutants from waste management facilities must be regulated to, as a minimum, the standards articulated in Part IV of Annex F.
  3. Consistent with the waste hierarchy, the Objective of this Treaty and Measures [1, 2, 3a, 5a, 5b] above, Parties shall take actions to minimise the generation of plastic waste. The actions taken shall be highlighted in [Part IV on National Plans].
  4. Each Party shall meet the requirements, including collection coverage, recycling rates, and phasing out illegal dumping and open burning, as set out for different waste streams in part I of annex F.
  5. Methodologies for calculating, and reporting on, performance as regards the collection rates and recycling targets in part I of annex F are set out in Part II of Annex F 
  6. Each Party shall take the necessary measures to prevent open dumping, ocean dumping, littering and open burning consistent with targets in part I of annex F as well as Measure 8. 
  7. Parties shall have a clear strategy for managing plastic (and, preferably, other) waste. Whether this exists in one or more documents, it shall cover the matters identified at part III of Annex F.  
  8. The governing body* shall where necessary articulate key over-arching principles that can support the implementation of the provisions of this Article reflecting on relevant guidance and guidelines developed under other international agreements 
  9. Parties shall: 
  1. Ensure that, consistent with [Part III 1. Financing], and in line with c) and d) above, funds are available to carry out activities not covered by fees from EPR, and necessary to ensure delivery of the strategy.  
  1. The measures taken to implement the provisions of this article shall be reflected in the national plan communicated pursuant to [Part IV.1 on national plans]. Where appropriate, Parties are encouraged to cooperate internationally or regionally to implement the provisions of this article. 

    Given the general relevance of the following paragraph, it could be moved to a more prominent place in the ILBI text (not the preamble).
  2. Parties shall have regard to Guidance and guidelines in other international agreements, including those developed under, inter alia, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter and its Protocol on the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex V of the International Maritime Organization and the Bamako Convention on Hazardous Wastes. 

Targets, differentiated (according to the dates at which they have to be met) by country grouping, for (see link to suggested text here)

Collection coverage (citizens/possibly, businesses) Recycling (possibly by waste stream (and format) Dates for phase-out of burning / open dumping

Standards for cleanliness (as a means to drive clean up, and hence, ensure that EPR provides adequate funds for clean up)

Methodologies for calculating collection rates and recycling rates. The definition of what it means to ‘have a collection service’, or to be ‘covered by collection’ are important. These terms are routinely used, but not defined.  

Matters to be covered by national plans in respect of waste (minimum).  

Minimum requirements / emissions limit values / abatement techniques for key processes.

NB – also a need for an unambiguous waste hierarchy.

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See Reloop’s overview of existing plastic pollution

  1. This measure is intended to complement Measure 8 and addresses the prevailing stock of plastic pollution with a view to remediating and cleaning up areas already blighted by emissions and releases of plastic, prioritising these in relation to their impact on the environment and the economy. Mitigation measures to be considered relevant below should be additional to those already identified in Measure 8.   
  2. Parties shall draw upon knowledge and expertise of stakeholders, including, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic and scientific and research institutes and other relevant organizations or associations, including through [the cooperation mechanism* referred to in Part III, article number yet to be defined], to:  
  1. The plans set out under sub-paragraph 2c will, for the country groups identified as eligible recipients for such support in [Annex H of Part III 1 Financing], be resourced via the Fund established as per [Part III 1 Financing]. Eligible recipients shall agree with [the Fund] a phased plan for receipt of, and deployment of, the resources disbursed in support of the Plans’ implementation.
  2. The priority areas identified, the basis for that prioritization, and the and the actions taken in relation to this article [Part II. 11] [shall be listed in the national plan communicated pursuant to [Part IV.1 on national plans]. 
  3. The governing body* [NB – could be assigned to ‘the Fund’ – see below] should adopt guidance, as appropriate, to facilitate implementation of this article, in particular, regarding those mitigation, remediation and clean-up measures considered preferable from the perspective of minimising potential negative impacts on the environment, biodiversity and human health, and hence, considered suitable for financial support as per sub-para 2. 

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  1. Each Party shall  
  1. Each Party shall report the information collected pursuant to paragraph 1c at least every 3 years as part of the national plan communicated pursuant to [Part IV.1 on national plans].  
  2. As per Part II Para X Parties considered eligible shall be provided necessary financial assistance to fund technical assistance and capacity building necessary to implement this Article. 
  3. The governing body* shall conduct, commencing [X] years after entry into force and at least every [X] years thereafter, a review of the guidelines developed under this article with a view to assessing the need for their revision, or replacement so as to improve the effectiveness of this instrument*. 

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See Reloop’s overview of financing

  1. Financing Implementation of the Treaty: Sources of Funds and Eligibility for Implementation Support (NB: includes tech assistance / tech transfer) 
  1. Each Party shall exercise its responsibilities to mobilise national resources, including through implementing producer responsibility schemes as per Measure 7, and economic instruments as appropriate, and including the global plastic fee (see Para 6 below), to mobilise resources required to implement this instrument*.  
  2. In accordance with the specific needs and special circumstances of Parties such as less developed countries or Small Island Developing States, all Parties will collaborate with the governing body* to ensure that activities and country groupings listed under [Annex H] are resourced though funds raised as a result of the implementation of this Article. In particular, Parties shall cooperate to enable, within their respective capabilities, the provision of timely, sustainable, comprehensive and adequate capacity-building and technical assistance, to Parties in greatest need, to assist them in implementing their obligations under this instrument* and to retain such capacity once built.   
  3. The funds raised for these purposes will be assigned to a Fund dedicated to supporting Parties in the effective implementation of this Treaty. The fund shall include financial contributions from the following sources: 
  1. The Fund described in Para 3 shall operate under the guidance of and be accountable to the governing body* The governing body* [or a body acting under its authority] shall confirm the criteria for eligibility in order to access financial resources, the list of categories of activities that will receive support from the mechanism, and the basis for allocating funds to those eligible. The governing body* [or a body acting under its authority] will also indicate those activities where it is expected financial resources will be mobilized by Parties themselves.
  2. The governing body* shall periodically report and make recommendations on a biannual basis on the identification and mobilization of funds under the mechanism. In addition to the considerations provided in this article, the governing body* shall consider, inter alia:
  1. The assessment of the needs of developing country Parties. This includes needs in respect of capacity-building and technical assistance to support the implementation of this instrument.*  
  2. The availability and timely disbursement of funds; 
  3. The ability of recipient Parties to absorb effectively the funds which are made available 
  4. The transparency of decision-making and management processes concerning fundraising and allocations 
  5. The balance of incoming and outgoing funds, and need for necessary adjustments to balance, given the needs of the eligible recipients for effective implementation. 
  1. Each Party shall implement a plastic pollution fee, to be paid by producers of primary plastic polymers within its jurisdiction, and adopt the necessary legislative, regulatory and administrative measures for its collection. The governing body*, at its first session, shall confirm the appropriate level of the fee to be applied and adopt modalities and procedures setting out rules for the transfer of a proportion of the fee revenue that is collected to the fund established in paragraph 3.  
  2. The global plastic pollution fee is expected to be the main source of funding for the following activities in low- and lower-middle income countries and small island developing states:
  1. Capacity building activities should place particular emphasis on supporting women, waste pickers, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) and other vulnerable groups, both in the development and implementation of such measures. They should be responsive to national needs, and foster country ownership by recipient Parties.
  2. Each Party shall take measures so that within 5 years of the Treaty entering into force that financial flows are made consistent with the goals of this instrument by:
  1. The parties shall make efforts to increase mobilisation of private funding including through removing impediments to private investment where it is aligned with the objective and provisions of the instrument. Investment guarantees should also be available to support the de-risking of private investment as appropriate.

A basic example of this is set out below: the list of activities in incomplete, and the country classification is simple (it could be made more ‘activity-specific’). The suggestion is to ensure that key sources of funding are linked to different funding needs.

Category of Nation (proposal)Upper Middle Income Lower Middle Income Low Income SIDS 
Activity  – – –
Capacity Building, Central Govt No Yes, for Measures X, Y, Z… Yes, for all Measures  Yes, for Measures A, B, C….
Capacity Building, Central Govt Yes, for Measure 9a outside major cities Yes, for Measure 8, 9a  Yes, for Measure 8, 9a 
Technical support No Yes, for Measures X, Y, Z… Yes, for all Measures  
Measure 3a   – – –
Measure 8 plans and actions  – – –

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