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10/5/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

First-Ever Global Report Aimed at Ridding Oceans of Plastic Waste

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The Ocean Concervancy's allies include Dow Chemical, Coca-Cola, and ACC.

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A new global report that both identifies the origins of the global ocean plastic debris and how it leaks into the oceans and also outlines reduction solutions and their relevant economics, as well as how to trigger implementation of these solutions from the near-to-the-long-term.

Released last month by the Washington, DC-based Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance,“Stemming the Tide: Land-based Strategies for a Plastic-Free Ocean”, was prepared by McKinsey Center for Business & Environment which was supported by Alliance members, the Dow Chemical Co., the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the Coca-Cola Co., World Wildlife Fund, and the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa. It was also advised by technical pros in waste management, plastics and recycling as well as various government and multilateral organizations.

The study determined that over half of the material leaked comes from five rapidly developing countries where production and consumption of plastics is outpacing local waste management capacity, in order of magnitude—China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. This first-of-its-kind report identifies ways this global crisis can be diverted through a set of strategies rooted in stopping the leakage in the first place. It projects, that the implementation of a plan that starts at the local level can result in a 65% reduction of plastic pollution in these five countries, which would translate to a 45% reduction of plastics flowing in the ocean globally by 2025.

The Alliance’s study stresses the need for working with industry to introduce new materials, recovery, and recycling approaches that will allow uncontrolled plastic waste to peak globally by 2030. Also, the strategies offered by the study are not plastic specific—they target the whole waste stream. If implemented today, the total program would entail a cost of $5-billion/yr.