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Sustainable Public Procurement of Plastics Guidance

  • Published on March 2, 2022

This guidance aims at identifying and addressing the challenges around the public procurement of plastics, with the objective to provide practical support for procurement practitioners in addressing the impacts of unecessary and problematic plastics within broader procurement practice

This public procurement guidance aims to help procurers adopt sustainable practices and criteria for avoiding and reducing plastics within the procurement of goods and services. It forms part of the joint One Planet Network response to the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly Resolution 6 on ‘Marine plastic litter and microplastics’ and the request to UNEP’s 10-Year Framework of SCP Programmes to develop guidelines for the use and production of plastics and to support governments in promoting the use of information tools and incentives to foster sustainable consumption and production. It is part of the approach to achieve the ambitious 2025 targets to work to eliminate the plastic items we don’t need; innovate so all plastics we do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment.

In 2020 the UN One Planet Network Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) programme committed to underpin­ this high-level guidance with more detailed and practical guidance for procurers on how to address the plastics issue through public procurement

The guide is aimed at procurement practitioners responsible for embedding and implementing policies to reduce the impact of problematic and unnecessary plastic through their procurement activities. This covers the development and imple­mentation of approaches for identifying where single use plastics occur within procurement spend areas and actions around tendering to help reduce the level of plastics and their impacts within public sector procurement.

The guidance may also be of use for policymakers in understanding the role sustainable public procure­ment can play in mitigating single use plastic and contributing towards the delivery of a more circular economy and sustainable consumption and production through the closure of plastic materials loops.

The coordination and delivery of this work was led by Rijkswaterstaat (SPP co-lead).

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