Why stop at plastic bags and straws? The case for a global treaty banning most single-use plastics

Feb. 7, 2019, The Conversation: "One attractive strategy is pursuing a legally binding phase-out of most single-use plastics at the global level. This approach makes sense because it would build on current national and municipal efforts to eliminate single-use packaging, and would create opportunities for new small and medium-sized businesses to develop more benign substitutes... About 112 countries, states and cities around the world have already imposed bans on various single-use plastic goods.

Several global bans and product phase-outs offer lessons for a treaty banning single-use plastic goods... The Montreal Protocol shows that bans can work where substitute products are available, but require reliable monitoring and the threat of sanctions to deter cheating. The Stockholm Convention suggests that industries will innovate to meet global production challenges. And struggles to curb the ivory trade offer a cautionary message about allowing exceptions to global bans. The rapid spread of single-use plastic bans shows that enough political support exists to launch negotiations toward a global treaty. Emerging economies such as Kenya that are aggressively tackling the problem are especially well placed to take a lead at the U.N. General Assembly in calling for talks on stemming the tide of plastic pollution."