Global alliance to end plastic waste
Nearly 30 plastics companies commit over $1.0-billion to help end plastic waste in the environment
AROUND 30 companies who have co-founded a global alliance to advance solutions that reduce and eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean. The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) has committed over $1.0 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years to help end plastic waste in the environment. New solutions will be developed and brought to scale that will minimise and manage plastic waste. This also includes the promotion of solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy.
Chairman of the initiative is Daniel Taylor, President and CEO of Procter&Gamble. The projects to be financed aim at the significant and measurable reduction of marine litter by focusing on the most polluted rivers.
Understanding where the plastic waste originates from is key. Research by the Ocean Conservancy shows that plastics in the ocean predominantly originate from litter on land. Most of the plastic waste is spread through rivers and can be traced back to 10 major rivers around the world, mainly in Asia and Africa. Many of these rivers flow through densely populated areas which have a lack of adequate waste collection and recycling infrastructure, leading to significant waste leakage. The AEPW will initiate actions where they are most needed. This will include projects that contribute to solutions in four key areas:
- Infrastructure development to collect and manage waste and increase recycling;
- Innovation to advance and scale up new technologies that make recycling and recovering plastics easier and create value from post-use plastics;
- Education and engagement of governments, businesses, and communities to mobilize action; and
- Clean-up of concentrated areas of plastic waste in the environment, particularly the major conduits of waste, such as rivers, that carry land-based waste to the ocean.
The alliance is a not-for-profit organization that includes companies from across the global plastics and consumer goods value chain: chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies. The alliance will work with governments, intergovernmental organizations, academia, non-government organizations and civil society to invest in joint projects to eliminate plastic waste from the environment.
The following companies are the founding members of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste: BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, CP Group, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation USA, Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, Shell, Suez, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).
Green groups question big industry’s plastic clean-up plan
Meanwhile, environmental groups have poured cold water over the much-trumpeted Alliance to End Plastic Waste. Green experts were sceptical as to the intentions of firms such as Procter & Gamble, Chevron and ExxonMobil and voiced doubt over the effectiveness of the alliance’s clean-up plan.
“This is a desperate attempt from corporate polluters to maintain the status quo on plastics,” said Graham Forbes, global plastics project leader at Greenpeace.
“In 2018, people all over the world spoke up and rejected the single-use plastics that companies like Procter & Gamble churn out on a daily basis.
“Instead of answering that call, P&G preferred to double down on a failed approach with fossil fuel giants like Exxon, Shell, Dow and Total that fuel destructive climate change,” Forbes added.
A Greenpeace report last year named Procter & Gamble as one of the biggest plastic polluters.
While some green groups welcomed the emphasis on better education, others were critical of the plan’s reliance on recycling. Gigi Kellett, deputy director of the campaign group Corporate Accountability, accused companies in the alliance of ‘greenwashing’ their long history of polluting.