The WTO, in collaboration with UNCTAD, is organising a Workshop on sustainable and effective substitutes and alternatives for plastics. The objective of this workshop is planned to be a scoping, stocktaking, and trade facilitation exercise of potential plastics substitutes and alternatives, providing a strong technical base for intensified discussions on sustainable, tradable, and effective substitutes and alternatives for plastics. The results could also support the WTO Dialogue's contribution to the UNEA process.
The workshop will provide a basis for discussion on a range of issues including, inter alia:
- Working definitions
- Minimum criteria for life cycle analysis and affordability, accessibility and availability
- Illustrative and extended list of material substitutes and material identification exercise
- HS code identification exercise, and trade-related measures enabling single-use plastic products (SUPP) and other "problematic" goods (e.g., textiles) substitution by sustainable materials
As part of this event, UNCTAD is hosting one of the breakout sessions: ‘Illustrative and extended list of material substitutes and material identification exercise’. UNCTAD has already developed an initial mapping of potential material substitutes (presented at previous IDP meetings). We are working on an expanded (non-exhaustive) indicative list of substitute materials, including life cycle analysis considerations to better support countries in trade facilitation measures for promising materials and products that can play similar functions currently performed by plastics.
This WTO-UNCTAD workshop is informed by the report Plastic Pollution: The pressing case for natural and environmentally friendly substitutes to plastics, which was prepared under the Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution (SMEP) programme, in collaboration with UNCTAD Oceans Programme in 2023.
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