World: Sustainability Major Global Alliance Contributes Over 1 Billion Dollars to End Plastic Waste

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Some of the leading companies around the globe are associated with this alliance and together they are keen to eliminate the serious issue of plastic waste which is affecting the environment across the globe.

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A study estimates that over 90 % of river borne plastic in the ocean comes from 10 major rivers around the world – eight in Asia, and two in Africa.
A study estimates that over 90 % of river borne plastic in the ocean comes from 10 major rivers around the world – eight in Asia, and two in Africa.
(Source: Deposit Photos)

Europe – An alliance of global companies from the plastics and consumer goods value chain recently launched a new organisation to advance solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean.

The cross value chain Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), currently made up of nearly thirty member companies, has committed over 1.0 billion dollars with the goal of investing 1.5 billion dollars over the next five years to help end plastic waste in the environment. The Alliance will develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimise as well as manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy. The Alliance membership represents global companies and is located throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

The Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation that includes companies that make, use, sell, process, collect, and recycle plastics. This includes chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies, also known as the plastics value chain. The Alliance has been working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development as a founding strategic partner. The Alliance has recently also announced an initial set of projects and collaborations that reflect a range of solutions to help end plastic waste:

• 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. This work will include engaging local governments and stakeholders, and generate economically sustainable and replicable models that can be applied across multiple cities and regions.

The Alliance will pursue partnerships with cities located in high plastic leakage areas. The Alliance will also be looking to collaborate with other programmes working with cities, such as Project Stop, which is working in Indonesia.

• Funding ‘The Incubator Network’ by Circulate Capital to develop and promote technologies, business models and entrepreneurs that prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling, with the intention of creating a pipeline of projects for investment, with an initial focus on Southeast Asia.

• Developing an open source, science-based global information project to support waste management projects globally with reliable data collection, metrics, standards, and methodologies to help governments, companies, and investors focus on and accelerate actions to stop plastic waste from entering the environment. The Alliance will explore opportunities to partner with leading academic institutions and other organisations already involved in similar types of data collection.

• Creating a capacity building collaboration with intergovernmental organisations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and trainings for government officials and community-based leaders to help them identify and pursue the most effective and locally-relevant solutions in the highest priority areas.

• Supporting Renew Oceans to aid localised investment and engagement. The programme is designed to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean from the ten major rivers shown to carry the vast majority of land-based waste to the ocean. The initial work will support the Renew Ganga project, which has also received support from the National Geographic Society.

In the months ahead, the Alliance will make additional investments and drive progress in four key areas:

• Infrastructure development to collect and manage waste and increase recycling;

• Innovation to advance and scale new technologies that make recycling and recovering plastics easier and create value from all post-use plastics;

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• Education and engagement of governments, businesses, and communities to mobilise action; and,

• Clean up of concentrated areas of plastic waste already in the environment, particularly the major conduits of waste, like rivers, that carry land-based plastic waste to the sea.

Research from the Ocean Conservancy shows that nearly 80 per cent of plastic waste in the ocean begins as litter on land, the vast majority of which travels to the sea by rivers. In fact one study estimates that over 90 per cent of river borne plastic in the ocean comes from 10 major rivers around the world – eight in Asia, and two in Africa. 60 per cent of plastic waste in the ocean can be sourced to five countries in Southeast Asia.

The following companies are the founding members of the Alliance: BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, Exxon Mobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A., Henkel, Lyondell Basell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, Nova Chemicals, Oxy Chem, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, Sabic, Sasol, Suez, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).