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, , - Posted on February 17, 2021

188 Environmental Groups Call for an end to Single Use Products, as the United Nations Environment Assembly gets set to discuss sustainability

Make “throwaway go away” if you care about the planet, groups say

Estelle Eonnet

For Immediate Release: February 17, 2021 – As government representatives from 193 member states prepare to discuss “Strengthening Actions for Nature”[1], 188 environmental groups from around the world are calling on them to change the systems that support production of polluting single-use products.

The environmental groups today issued a joint position paper “From Single Use to Systems Change”, to highlight the massive impact that disposable products are having on the natural environment, wildlife, human health, and vulnerable communities.

Single use products, from packaging to food containers, to disposable cups and cutlery, are a key contributor to the 2 billion tonnes of waste that humans produce every year. That number is projected to increase 70% by 2050. 

“We’re depleting the very life support systems that we all need to survive, simply for the supposed convenience of single-use products,” said Tamara Stark, Campaigns Director of Canopy, one of the authoring organizations of the joint position paper. “Doing away with disposables will not only reduce waste but help address climate change, protect forests, and stop microplastics from poisoning marine life.”

The paper points to specific actions to be taken by governments, business leaders, financial institutions and investors, in order to transform production systems, reduce the overall use of raw materials and consumption, and spur innovation. Whilst actions by individuals also play a part, the NGOs say that more responsibility resides with decision-makers and those designing and approving the systems themselves.

“Too often, it is the most vulnerable people in our societies that bear the brunt of these polluting products – which contaminate local food supplies, clog landfills, and poison water and soil with toxic chemicals,” said Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator of the global Break Free From Plastic movement. “It’s high time that we make corporations and industries that are driving global pollution and the climate crisis accountable for their actions.  We need to see radical change in how products are delivered to people, without the use of harmful and polluting packaging.“

“Paper versus plastic has always been a false choice. From the perspective of paper it means more forests logged, destruction of our best defense against climate change, and more pollution for the frontline communities where paper mills are sited,” said Scot Quaranda, Communications Director for Dogwood Alliance. “After watching our environmental safeguards decimated over the last several years in the U.S., it is high time we and other industrialized nations take the lead on shifting to more sustainable production methods and products.” 

The Environmental Paper Network is another key advocate for a shift away from single use products and systems, and have this week launched the new website to help companies, lawmakers, advocates, and individuals ditch disposables and embrace sustainable packaging solutions.

The joint paper From Single Use to Systems Change can be found here

For more information please contact:

Laura Repas, Communications and Marketing Specialist, Canopy +1 416 729 7484

Estelle Eonnet, Communications Officer Europe, Break Free From Plastic  +33 6 13136527

Scot Quaranda, Communications Director, Dogwood Alliance, +1.828.242.3596


Canopy is a solutions-driven not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting forests, species and climate. Canopy has worked with over 750 companies to guide them to more sustainable practices. Canopy’s partners include H&M, Sprint, Target, Amazon, Penguin Random House, Zara, TC Transcontinental, and Scholastic.

Break Free From Plastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in September 2016, over 11,000 non-governmental organizations and individuals from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single use plastics and to push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis.

Dogwood Alliance advances environmental justice and climate action by mobilizing diverse voices to protect Southern forests and communities from industrial logging. This year they are celebrating their 25th anniversary. Learn more at or on Twitter - @DogwoodAlliance

[1] The United Nations Environment Assembly 5 has adopted the theme of “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. According to the United Nations own report Global Biodiversity Outlook 5. None of the signatories to the Aichi Biodiversity targets have achieved even one of the 20 goals they committed to, two decades ago.

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