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Approaches Should Focus on Improving Waste Management Globally

WASHINGTON (February 23, 2017) – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched its Clean Seas campaign, a global initiative to eliminate major sources of marine litter by the year 2022. The American Chemistry Council released the following statement, which may be attributed to Steve Russell, vice president of ACC’s Plastics Division:

“Plastics provide tremendous benefits to society and our planet, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, food waste and energy use—but used plastics don’t belong in our ocean. That’s why the world’s plastics makers launched the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter in 2011. Today, 70 associations from 35 countries have signed onto the Global Declaration. Collectively under the Global Declaration, our industry has implemented over 260 projects worldwide to reduce marine litter, and we know there’s much more to be done.

Scientific and political leaders have identified the need to improve land-based waste management—particularly in rapidly industrializing economies—as the single most important step we can take to reduce the flow of waste into the ocean. Plastic makers are therefore actively engaged with the Trash Free Seas Alliance to deploy pilot programs and practical solutions in the Asia-Pacific region. Leaders from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum are now calling for improved waste management, and our industry is partnering with other stakeholders to improve collection, containment, recycling and energy recovery in the region.

The United Nations Clean Seas campaign is another sign that policy makers globally recognize the link between our actions on land and impacts in the ocean. We look forward to sharing programs and practical experiences learned from progress already underway in Asia-Pacific and elsewhere.

Plastic makers also look forward to sharing lifecycle and other data to help inform policy suggestions, including the recent report from Trucost (“Plastics and Sustainability”) which quantifies the impacts of plastics and their alternatives in packaging and consumer goods in order to reduce environmental impacts.”

» Learn more about reducing marine litter

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