From the Global Plastics Treaty, to national policy and campaigns, to city solutions, GAIA members are united in a worldwide movement to end plastic pollution.

For years, GAIA has been at the forefront of the movement to end the plastics crisis, through policy changes, movement building, and on-the-ground solutions. Thanks to the tireless work of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement and GAIA members around the world, we reached a historic step forward in the fight against plastic pollution in March 2022, when the United Nations Environment Assembly agreed on a mandate to create a global plastics treaty: a legally binding international law aimed at eliminating plastic pollution worldwide. Thanks to the enormous efforts by our members, this mandate covers the full life-cycle of plastic, all environmental impacts, and even acknowledges the unique role and rights of waste pickers. 

This critical milestone would not have been possible without a diverse movement of waste pickers, frontline community activists, and zero waste advocates demanding systemic change. Supporting the powerful grassroots movements that fight plastic pollution at its source and build new systems in their cities has always been, and continues to be, central to GAIA’s work. As is providing the research and evidence that substantiates plastic’s harmful value chain, securing policies that reduce production and consumption of single-use disposable plastics around the world, and debunking the plastic industry’s false “plastic to fuel” and “chemical recycling” solutions. 


GAIA is pushing for a bold and binding treaty, which means there’s still a long road ahead. The treaty will be taking shape through a series of negotiations through the end of 2024: GAIA and our allies will be present to make sure our issues are represented, but it will take continuing pressure from people all over the world to ensure that we get a strong treaty. Over the next two years, GAIA, along with our members and partners, will be tracking the entirety of the negotiations to develop the treaty itself and ensure that it is as strong as it must be to meet the scale of the crisis at hand.

Our fundamental objectives for the treaty include: ending plastic pollution across the lifecycle of plastics, prioritizing prevention and precaution; upholding human rights and environmental justice for affected communities; ensuring a just transition for waste pickers; and avoiding false solutions  that harm the climate, biodiversity, and human and ecosystem health.


By providing essential technical assessments and tracking trends, connecting the dots between human health and plastic packaging, and advocating for a reduction-first approach to plastic pollution, we support our members in building new systems that move cities from outdated waste management infrastructure to people-centric and community-centric solutions. Working with cities, we are able to show the growing volume of plastic waste through city-wide waste assessments and brand audits, which in turn gives us the power to uncover the true culprits of our plastic pollution problem: corporate boardrooms in the U.S. & Europe.


The plastic industry’s promises of “plastic to fuel” & “chemical recycling” are a distraction.

These false solutions justify the continued production of plastic, fail to address the source of the problem, and are themselves pollution sources.


Waste Colonialism and the Global Waste Trade

The practice of exporting waste from higher-income countries to lower-income countries who are ill-equipped to handle this waste is an unjust form of environmental racism. It places the burden of plastic and toxic waste on the environment, communities, and these countries’ informal waste sector, especially in the Global South.

The Basel Convention and Plastic Waste Trade

GAIA and its members are fighting to end Global North plastic waste dumping in Global South countries, and advocating Basel Convention leadership for a worldwide shift towards localized zero waste economies that foster sharply reduced plastic production, discourage false solutions like so-called “chemical recycling,” and end plastic waste burning, which poisons people and planet and harms our climate.

To stop plastic pollution, we have to stop burning plastic. Waste incinerators make climate pollution, toxic pollution, and hazardous ash. The only solution to plastic pollution is to limit plastic production itself.