October 05, 2020

Plastics: Global Outlook for Multinational Environmental Lawyers

Mary Ellen Ternes

With recent developments in plastic waste regulation globally, environmental attorneys can consider plastic to be squarely within the practice of environmental law. The world is focusing urgently on plastic waste. Governments and the plastics industry are reconsidering production and distribution assumptions, including eliminating unnecessary products such as single-use items; expanding responsibility of plastics producers to support plastic goods collection post-use; continuing to use and reuse through chemical recycling to recreate polymer products of equal or higher value; and developing methods to mitigate “microplastic” pollution. This article will address the evolving global approaches to plastic goods and plastic waste, the rationales underlying the choices made between available options, and the implications for multinational corporations and the attorneys who advise them on managing risks and seizing opportunities.

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