Plastic-Free Hoi An: Towards a Green Destination

Once faced with waste management challenges exacerbated by tourism, two communes in Hoi An, Vietnam — Cam Thanh and Cham Islands (Tan Hiep Commune) — have become the faces of Zero Waste through the collaboration of stakeholders from the government, community organizations, farmers’ associations, businesses, and tourism associations.

Fuelling Failure is the first report to highlight the dangers fossil fuels and plastic production pose to every single UN Sustainable Development Goal. The 17 SDGs, whose 169 targets aim to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030,” touch on a diverse range of issues and challenges such as biodiversity, work, health, inequality and food. The goals apply to all countries, rich and poor, with the aim of ensuring that “no one will be left behind.” In contrast, plastic reduction and zero waste strategies would help us meet the world’s SDG’s, fast.

The paper was produced by researchers at the University of Sussex on behalf of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative and key civil society partners with expertise across the SDGs: 350.org, ActionAid, REN21, Stand.earth, CAN South Asia, UNRISD, Food and Water, Rapid Transition Alliance, Leave It In the Ground Initiative, GAIA, CAN International, Center for Biological Diversity, Stamp Out Poverty, MOCICC, Power Shift Africa, WECAN and Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development.

Three years after the Basel Convention COP14 adopted the plastic waste trade amendments that came into force in January 2021, the global plastic waste trade has shifted but remains a cause of environmental injustice, with communities and ecosystems in importing countries bearing a disproportionate portion of the toxic burden associated with the dumping, burning and environmentally-unsound recycling of plastic waste.

 International, European, Italian and Tunisian environmental groups have joined in demanding the immediate return of 282 containers full of mixed municipal waste that were illegally exported from Italy’s Campania region to the Port of Sousse in Tunisia between May and July 2020. According to the environmental organizations, the exports violated European Union law, Tunisian law as well as international waste trade treaties — the Basel Convention, the Bamako Convention and the Izmir Protocol of the Barcelona Convention.

As companies increasingly come under pressure to reduce plastic, some are using “plastic neutrality” and similar
credit schemes to claim that they are not contributing to plastic pollution. The global plastics treaty provides an important opportunity to officially discourage or ban the use of plastic credits before they become widespread. Doing so would avoid the incredible amount of regulatory oversight needs —both in the private and public sectors— to organize and manage international plastic credit markets. The collective efforts could be better spent on reducing plastic production rapidly.

A transition from a plastic-reliant economy toward a circular zero waste economy requires effective mobilization
and allocation of financial resources. Public and private finance have distinct and intersecting roles to play in
supporting and scaling up innovations for waste prevention, redesign, alternative delivery and reuse systems as
well as improving existing waste collection and recycling systems.

Island communities face more challenges when confronted with the problems posed by single-use plastics. As a response to these challenges, GAIA Island communities face more challenges when confronted with the problems posed by single-use plastics. As a response to these challenges, GAIA Asia Pacific is launching this latest publication, Community Voices: Impacts of Single-Use Plastic Regulations on Philippine Coastal Communities. This highlights different experiences of waste management implementors from Siquijor, San Carlos, and Dumaguete City in implementing their single-use plastic regulations.

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies seek to improve the environmental and social performance of products by holding producers and brand owners accountable for the entire lifecycle of their products. The global plastics treaty must embed well-designed EPR policies in it, guiding producers to prioritize upstream solutions.

The global Plastics Treaty must focus on plastic reduction and reuse, instead of substituting a plastic single-use item for
a bio-based, biodegradable, or compostable one.