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WASHINGTON (December 7, 2016) – The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released a new report entitled “Marine Debris: Understanding, Preventing and Mitigating the Significant Adverse Impacts on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity.” The report underscored the importance of improving waste management infrastructure to help prevent the flow of trash to our oceans. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement, which may be attributed to Steve Russell, vice president of plastics:

“UNEP’s latest report echoes most major scientific studies on this topic in calling for improved waste management solutions to help prevent the flow of debris into the environment. UNEP also cited the importance of developing and expanding waste management infrastructure in ‘Marine Plastic Debris and Microplastics: Global lessons and research to inspire action and guide policy,’ released earlier this year. The findings of both UNEP documents are consistent with the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance® report ‘Stemming the Tide: Land-based strategies for a plastic-free ocean’ and with commitments and programs already undertaken by plastics makers around the world.

Marine Litter Solutions“Plastics Makers currently have more than 260 projects underway around the world aimed at combatting marine litter. Our combined efforts to research and prevent marine debris under our ‘Declaration of the Global Plastics Industry for Solutions on Marine Litter,’ have grown each year since its introduction in 2011. Signed by 68 plastics associations in 34 countries, the declaration focuses on education, public policy, best practices, plastics recycling and recovery, plastic pellet containment, and research.

“Durable and lightweight, plastics provide important societal benefits including significant energy and resource savings, longer food shelf life, improved healthcare and consumer protection. And, for most packaging and consumer goods, using plastic instead of alternative materials deliver reduced greenhouse gas emissions and uses fewer resources. In fact, the recent Trucost study Plastics and Sustainability: A Valuation of Environmental Benefits, Costs, and Opportunities for Continuous Improvement found that the environmental cost of using plastics in consumer goods and packaging is nearly four times less than it would be if plastics were replaced with alternative materials. Still, plastics must be properly managed throughout their life cycles to maximize their full sustainability benefits.”

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