SWANA Hails UNEA Agreement on Plastics

United Nations Environmental Assembly

United Nations Environmental Assembly Approves Resolution

Silver Spring, MD – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) hails the United Nations Environmental Assembly’s (UNEA) landmark resolution creating a framework for an international treaty on plastics. SWANA strongly supports efforts to decrease the amount of plastic litter in the oceans and other waterways.

“The UNEA resolution is an important first step towards an international treaty, but it is only one step towards reducing the amount of plastic waste flowing into waterways throughout the world,” stated David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO. “SWANA met with U.S. officials earlier this year to discuss the fifth session of the UNEA and urged that a strong focus be placed on helping lesser developed countries develop modern waste and recycling systems to manage discarded plastic,” he added.

SWANA believes that providing technical assistance and capacity building to national, provincial, and local officials and solid waste managers will be critical to reducing the amount of plastic in the natural environment, including oceans. For instance, numerous published reports show that the majority of plastic waste entering the oceans comes from a handful of rivers in Asia. Robust, targeted improvements to solid waste management in those areas can have an outsized effect on the global problem.

The UNEA adopted a resolution on March 2 to establish an intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop a binding international treaty to end plastic pollution. The UNEA is expected to vote on the treaty in 2024 following several rounds of negotiations. SWANA will continue to work with U.S. and Canadian representatives as the treaty develops.


The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 60 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.

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