World Wildlife Fund Nature Breaking

multiple plastic bags stuck in bushes

Plastic pollution is a problem. A new UN treaty could help.

  • Date: 16 April 2024

Ahead of Earth Day, today’s episode revisits a topic that we first covered in 2022 on this podcast: plastic pollution. Everyone knows that this issue has become a true crisis around the world. Our current system for recycling and reusing plastic products is broken, and far too much of the plastic we use in our lives ends up in our communities or in our oceans. But there is hope for a brighter future.


In March of 2022, the UN Environment Assembly agreed to kick off a process to draft a Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution, with a goal of finalizing the treaty by 2025. My guest today is Erin Simon, WWF’s vice president for plastic waste and business. Erin has had a front-row seat to this ongoing treaty process, and she’s joining us today to provide an update ahead of the critical next phase: the fourth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, which begins on April 23 and is intended to bring the treaty one step closer to being finalized. But first Erin brings listeners up to speed on the current state of the plastic crisis (1:43) and the actions that the US government could take to help (6:56), before breaking down the latest on the UN treaty negotiations (16:17).