Kickstart: ‘Holding people to account’ on plastics, climate

If you thought there’s been a flood of news and social media posts recently about plastics pollution, net-zero carbon goals and climate change, then brace yourself for an even bigger wave over the next few weeks.

That’s because there are a pair of global meetings taking place this week. The higher-profile event is the United National Climate Conference — better known as COP27 — at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where negotiations will be taking place over how to address global sustainability issues. The United Nations Environment Programme says to expect a statement of some kind to “support the rapid implementation of real climate action” to come out of the event.

“So, this is why I say today, a new era begins and we begin to do things differently,” Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in opening the conference Nov. 7. “We will be holding people to account — be they presidents, prime ministers or CEOs, an accountability chief, if you may.”

COP27 will be quickly followed by two other high-profile events: The start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Nov. 20 — which is getting extra scrutiny because of early promises to be “carbon neutral,” which were then quietly shelved — and the start of talks toward a global plastics treaty in Uruguay, Nov. 28 to Dec.2.

For an interesting take on professional sports teams and organisers and their promises (and failures) to deliver, check out this report from Sports Illustrated. For a preview of the treaty discussions, PN’s Steve Toloken covered the topic during K 2022 here.

These collaborative approaches are needed to make real changes. Milliken & Co. CEO Halsey Cook told PN’s Sarah Kominek at K 2022 that the South Carolina company is committed to “net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 using science-based accounting of emissions,” but it also must take into account its network of suppliers and customers.

“We will not be able to succeed in isolation,” Cook said. “There are technologies that are in the process of coming to market or being invented that will allow Milliken and the world to be successful.”

Making recycling a little more fun

But before you get frustrated with everything we can’t do, how about a small effort that can make a difference?

Bristol, England, has just added more recycling bins in public areas to encourage proper disposal of waste by making bins more colourful and fun to use. Open the bin to drop off a plastic bottle and music will play. “Vote” for whether you prefer surfing or skateboarding by dropping a cigarette butt in one of two slots.

“The aim is to reduce litter on the streets and stop it travelling into the harbour and out to sea, where it contributes to the ocean plastic crisis,” Bristol Waste Co. says.

Vote, then recycle

Here in the U.S., a lot of communities and businesses are offering special recycling drop-offs for a very seasonal item: election signs.

Plans vary by community, so check locally, but in one example, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) will host a special collection in Columbus for all paper and plastic signs including corrugated plastics along with metal stands Nov. 12.

SWACO officials said the company collected more than 3,500 pounds of metal, paper and plastic election signs for recycling.

This article is republished from Plastic News under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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