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Executive Director statement at INC-4 opening press conference

My thanks to the members of the press for covering these negotiations.

When plastics were first mass-marketed in the 1950s, the concept of throwing away useful items after a single use was so alien that we had to be taught it. Fast forward seventy years, and we have learned the lesson well. Too well.

Our throwaway culture means that plastic floods our drains, blocks our rivers, chokes our oceans and enters our bodies. This throwaway world must itself be thrown away.

Two years ago, the United Nations Environment Assembly green-lit these negotiations for an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution that deals with the full life cycle of plastics.

Let me be clear what “full life cycle” entails. It means eliminating unnecessary single use and short-lived plastic, rolling out refill and reuse models and producing less problematic plastic.

It means addressing harmful chemicals and designing for circularity. It means investing in solid waste management and recycling – so that we can use, reuse and recycle resources more efficiently.