The global community is poised to take another step closer to its goal to win the war against plastic waste in the upcoming meeting of a high-level group tasked by the United Nations to craft a landmark international law against plastic pollution.
Among the organizations that will be represented during the discussions of the International Negotiating Committee in Nairobi, Kenya is PCX, one of the world’s leading plastic waste-offset programs, founded in 2019 by impact entrepreneur and philanthropist Nanette Medved-Po.
PCX teams up with companies and local governments to clean up plastic waste and divert it from nature by supporting accredited project partners that collect and responsibly process the waste in a fully traceable platform.
PCX’s mission is to clean up some 80 years’ worth of plastic waste and ensure no plastic waste enters nature. PCX encourages the elimination of unnecessary plastic and enables responsible collection and waste management for any plastic that remains, so that it does not end up in nature.
Medved-Po, as founder and chairperson of PCX and part of the official Philippine delegation, will provide inputs on designing and implementing financing mechanisms to reduce plastic pollution, including in the fragile marine environment.
The staunch environmentalist hopes to provide feedback and share insights into how the Extended Producer Responsibility mechanism can be more effectively executed given PCX’s unique experience in dealing with both voluntary and mandated compliance to the EPR Act in the Philippines.
The landmark Philippine EPR Act compels large corporations to recover or divert at least 20 percent of their plastic packaging footprint by the end of 2023; then up to 40 percent by next year, and another 10 percent every year until at least 80 percent is recovered or diverted by 2028.
The work is vital considering that the Philippines was identified in a 2021 study as one of the world’s largest contributor to ocean plastic waste.
Products that fill up landfills, choke waterways and pollute marine ecosystems include sachets and laminates used for shampoos, rigid plastics such as beverage bottles and cutlery, single-use plastic bags as well as polystyrene used for takeout food and beverage containers.
PCX has been making inroads into helping collect and divert post-consumer plastic waste within a credible, traceable, environmentally sound and socially responsible framework.
It joined forces with a growing list of like-minded organizations who want to do their part in removing plastic waste from nature. PCX offers various solutions aimed at effective reduction and disposal of plastic waste globally, including working closely with waste collectors, recyclers and diverters.
PCX diverted more than 55 million kilos of plastic waste from nature and drove 67,000 tons of carbon reduction from coal replacement.
Medved-Po said PCX hopes to help companies achieve the coveted status of true net zero plastic waste through its circular offset program.
“We actually could be the generation that solves the plastic pollution crisis,” she said.
“Even in a very imperfect world, we have proven that plastic waste can be cleaned up at scale. That signals that there is hope,” Medved-Po said.
Medved-Po has been sharing her advocacy, on-the-ground experience and impact in battling plastic pollution during international conferences, including the second meeting of the UN Environment Programme’s International Negotiating Committee in Paris, the World Trade Organization Public Forum in Geneva, Forbes Sustainability Leaders Summit as part of the New York Climate Week and most recently The Economist Impact’s Global Plastics Summit in Bangkok.
She emphasizes the importance of the Global Plastics Treaty and the needed cooperation between the private and public sectors to achieve global goals against plastic pollution.
Medved-Po also talked about the need for regional collaboration and capacity sharing, considering that not all countries are equally equipped to manage waste. She also discusses how to grow and strengthen the circular plastic economy.
PCX underscores the importance of global collaborations and knowledge-sharing to enhance sustainability efforts, especially in navigating the complex crisis of plastic pollution.
Under a circular plastic economy, plastic is viewed not just as waste but a resource that can actually be reused and repurposed so that any plastic that is produced can be used for as long as possible, instead of new plastic products being churned out at the growing rate that they are being produced today.
Expanding the circular economy is one of the topics that are expected to be covered during the third session of the INC that will take place from Nov. 13 to 19, 2023. The goal is to have an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, by 2025.