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Banner Campaign Rubbish Why 1

Our world has a rubbish problem

In association with: Renew Our World and Tearfund UK

Call on our government to help stop the rubbish

Sign the petition


Our world has a rubbish problem

Sign the petition

Why the Rubbish Campaign?

God has called us to care for our neighbours and creation.

But right now, our world has a rubbish problem – and it’s hitting people living in poverty the hardest.

Two billion people – one in four of us – have no safe way to dispose of rubbish, meaning many are forced to live and work among piles of waste. This is making people sick, damaging their livelihoods, and causing up to a million deaths each year – that’s one person dying every 30 seconds.

TEAR Report Rubbish The Burning Question page 9

The story so far

In 2019, the global Tearfund family lobbied four of the world’s biggest plastic polluters - Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Unilver and Nestle - calling on them to stop the rubbish.

Together with the global Tearfund family, over 50,000 of us spoke up and it worked!

All four companies made some big changes and some even told us directly that Tearfund’s campaign was the pressure they needed to act.

They committed to:


  • All four companies now disclose their annual plastic footprint


  • All four companies have committed to reduce their use of virgin plastic
  • Coca-Cola have announced the first re-use target of any major company in their sector


  • Unilever, Coca-Cola and Nestle have significant commitments on plastic collection


Tearfund have now convened the Fair Circularity Initiative, to ensure companies recognise the vital role of waste pickers in recycling & their responsibility to respect their human rights. Waste pickers play a crucial role preventing rubbish being dumped and burned, but they are often overlooked and earn unjustly low incomes. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle and Unilever have all agreed to adopt these new Fair Circularity Principles.

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Our World Still Has a Rubbish Problem

However, despite these incredible wins, our world still has a rubbish problem and it is people living in the world’s poorest countries who are suffering the worst effects from plastic pollution and mismanaged waste.

Between 2000 and 2019, plastic waste generation more than doubled, and it’s set to rise further. Today, half of all plastic is designed to be used just once before being discarded.

Voluntary actions by governments and companies have proven insufficient to deal with the problem. Not all companies have made commitments, and existing promises have not delivered meaningful change fast enough. Academic modelling confirms that current promises are completely inadequate to address plastic pollution. Without global action to tackle the issue of plastic pollution, global plastics consumption is projected to almost triple by 2060. The impact of this increase on the lives of people living in poverty will be catastrophic.

The time is now

During 2023 and 2024, governments from around the world, including Australia, will be meeting to negotiate the world’s first agreement to address plastic pollution.

But it’s not a done deal.

We need you to add your voice to thousands of others from across the world who are coming together to demand an end to plastic pollution and its impacts on people living in poverty.

We are asking the Australian government to use its position in these negotiations to push for a plastics treaty that fully addresses the impacts of waste on people living in poverty, by ensuring four things are included in the final agreement:

  • Reduction: legally binding targets to reduce plastic production and scale up reuse solutions
  • Recycling: universal access to waste collection and recycling
  • Respect: support for waste pickers, including a just transition
  • Response: mechanisms to ensure businesses and governments take action.

Add your voice to thousands of others calling for an end to plastic pollution and its impacts on people living in poverty.

Take Action Today