UNEA5 Briefing Series: Toxics and Health

Plastic contains toxic chemicals that leach into our food, water, and soil. Out of about 10,000 chemicals used as plastic additives, few have been widely studied, let alone regulated. A treaty must address plastic’s toxic burden.

A report by Changing Markets, GAIA, and the Ecology Center finds toxics substances in every major US carpet tested. These toxic carpets are not only harming human health, they’re getting in the way of a circular economy.

Zero Waste is a move away from this unsustainable linear industrial system into a circular system—a system where unnecessary extraction and consumption is minimized, where waste is reduced, and where products and materials are reused or recycled back into the

In Zero Waste, the resources that we use can be safely and economically recycled, reused, and composted, or turned into biogas anaerobic digestion. Zero Waste also means avoiding the use of disposable products and redesigning products that are toxic-free and built to last. Zero Waste involves:
• Reducing consumption
• Reusing discards
• Product redesign
• Shift to alternative delivery systems
• Comprehensive recycling
• A ban on waste incineration
• Comprehensive composting or biodigestion of organic materials
• Citizen and worker participation
• Policies, regulations, incentives, and financing structures to support these systems