Vibrant Oceans

ACC Members Contributions to Vibrant Oceans

Global Alliance Advancing Solutions to Eliminate Plastics Waste in the Oceans

Sustainability Challenge:

Plastics waste in the oceans and environment is a critical, worldwide issue – scientists estimate that more than 8 million metric tons of plastics enter the ocean each year.

Chemistry Solution:

A multi-pronged investment approach to expand waste management infrastructure, accelerate innovations in materials and packaging, promote education and clean up concentrated areas of waste can help stop plastic waste from entering the environment.

Sustainability Benefit:

A meaningful worldwide response to overcome this critical problem can contribute to cleaning up land and oceans and help end plastic waste in the environment.

Global awareness and concern about plastic waste in the oceans is continuing to grow. Research from the Ocean Conservancy shows that up to 80 percent of ocean plastic starts out on land, much of it coming from rapidly developing countries that have yet to build systems to manage local waste.

An alliance of global companies representing the plastics industry, consumer product manufacturers and waste management companies, formed a new nonprofit organization to advance solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean.

Beach-Cleanup.jpgThis Alliance to End Plastic Waste has committed over $1 billion to this work so far, with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years to help end plastic waste in the environment. The Alliance will work with manufacturers, technology developers, the finance community, governments and civil society around the world to develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimize and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy.

The Alliance plans to focus investments in four key areas:

  1. Expanding infrastructure to collect, manage and recycle used plastics, particularly in high-leakage regions.
  2. Accelerating innovations in packaging design and technology that increase efficiency and create value from post-use plastics.
  3. Promoting education and engagement among governments, businesses and communities.
  4. Cleaning up concentrated areas of plastic waste already in the environment—especially in rivers that carry land-based waste to the ocean.

These investments complement existing commitments undertaken by individual Alliance members to use and reuse material resources, and commitments by plastics makers in the United States, Canada and Europe to recycle or recover 100 percent of plastic packaging by 2040.

The Alliance will start with an initial group of projects, including:

  1. Partnering with cities to design integrated waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking, especially those along rivers which transport vast amounts of unmanaged plastic waste from land to the ocean.
  2. Providing funds to the Incubator Network by Circulate Capital, launched at the G7 in September 2018.
  3. Developing a global information project to support waste management systems with data, metrics, standards and methodologies.
  4. Collaborating with the United Nations and other organizations to conduct joint trainings and workshops for government and community leaders.
  5. Supporting the nonprofit Renew Oceans to help capture waste from 10 high-leakage rivers in Asia before it reaches the ocean.

The following companies are the founding members of the Alliance: BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation USA, Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SealedAir, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).

Plastic Resin Producers Set Ambitious Recycling Goals for Food Packaging

Sustainability Challenge:

Littered plastics packaging and other materials can end up as debris in oceans and other water ways, disturbing water ecosystems and causing harm to ocean life.

Chemistry Solution:

Enhanced technologies and processes to accelerate the reuse, recycling and recovery of plastics packaging.

Sustainability Benefit:

The U.S. plastics industry’s commitment to reuse, recycle or recover all plastics packaging by 2040 will enhance efforts to keep waste out of the ocean and recover the value of discarded materials.

Plastic packaging keeps foods, medicine, cosmetics and a host of other products we rely on fresh, sanitary and clean. Often, plastics can provide these benefits using significantly fewer resources and with lower environmental impacts than alternatives.

However, more must be done to increase recycling, recovery and reuse of plastics so that they do not contaminate our environment.

The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Plastics Division has set three ambitious goals to guide and accelerate the capture, recycling and recovery of plastics packaging:

  1. By 2040, 100% of plastics packaging is reused, recycled or recovered.
  2. By 2030, 100% of plastics packaging is recyclable or recoverable.
  3. By 2022, 100% of the North American manufacturing sites operated by ACC’s Plastics Division members will participate in Operation Clean Sweep-Blue to keep plastics out of water ways.

Plastics Inforgraphic Meeting these goals will require plastics manufacturers to continue to innovate and develop new products designed for greater efficiency and recycling, as well as to develop technologies and infrastructure that better separate materials at recovery facilities.

In addition, plastics manufacturers will partner with innovators and develop new business models to optimize technologies that can break down used plastics into their basic chemical building blocks, to extend the life and value of these molecules as raw materials that can be manufactured into entirely new products.


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