With growing awareness of the scale and urgency needed to address marine litter, plastics industry leaders1 asked leading academic, sustainability and finance experts to provide their thoughts on effective solutions. Those voices and perspectives are highlighted in a video unveiled at the Chemical Industries Association’s (CIA) annual conference on 15 November in London.
Marine litter is a global challenge, and plastics manufacturers together with their value chains and other stakeholders are strongly committed to playing a leading role in preventing plastics from leaking into the environment and providing concrete solutions. This will include prevention, innovation, and basic waste collection, sorting and treatment where they are most needed, as well as engaging with public and private sector stakeholders to provide education. Experts agree that stemming the tide will require new circular business models, as well as significant investment in waste management, particularly in countries that have yet to invest in systems and infrastructure to manage and repurpose waste.
The advantages of plastics in our daily lives are countless: plastics allow us to do more with less, helping to avoid food waste, save energy in our homes and decrease CO2 emissions. However, plastic makers agree that plastics have no place in the environment, and they are certainly too valuable to be littered or thrown away.
The five-minute video features world renowned professionals in the plastics sector who bring global perspectives, namely Richard Thompson OBE – Professor of Marine Biology, University of Plymouth, Patrick Thomas – Founder of the World Plastics Council, Robert Kaplan – Founder/CEO, Circulate Capital, Nina Goodrich – Director, Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Anton de Vries – Director, Enerkem.
Jim Seward, Chairman, World Plastics Council said: “The problem of plastic waste in our environment is solvable. It requires innovation, investment and changing the way we all think about plastics and plastic waste.”
Steven K. Russell, Vice President, Plastics Division, American Chemistry Council (ACC) said: “Plastic makers understand the urgent need to eliminate plastic waste from entering the environment and we are working with our value chains to deliver more recyclable products, innovative new formats, and optimised waste treatment systems.”
Philip Law, Director-General, British Plastics Federation (BPF) said: “The public is now more aware than ever of the damage that irresponsibly discarded plastic waste can have on the environment. We all want to leave the environment in a better place for future generations – and we all have a part to play. This video provides an excellent summary of why we need plastics and some of the innovative solutions being developed by industry.”
“Finding the right balance so that society can continue to benefit from the added value brought by plastics and negative aspects arising from their end of use (waste) are effectively managed is vital. Plastic litter is a global issue and therefore all stakeholders need to find effective ways for sharing learning from initiatives, so that as a collective society we realise the benefits for taking positive action towards achieving a more sustainable use of plastics. CIA believes this to be achievable if we all work together.”, said Steve Elliott, Chief Executive, Chemical Industries Association (CIA).
“As a society, we need to take advantage of the opportunities that the new plastics economy offers.”, said Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope. “Delivering on our ambitious targets for re-use, recycling and/or recovery of all plastics packaging together with the full value chain is key. Nevertheless, these efforts need to be complemented by the strong commitment of policy makers and public authorities to ensure investments in waste management infrastructure. Only together we can solve the waste challenge as a whole.”
The video is available at the following link: https://vimeo.com/301822342
In partnership with ITN Productions, the programme features key industry interviews and news-style reports, introduced by national newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky.