Chemicals firms join plastic waste alliance
Some of the world’s largest chemicals firms have helped to found the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which describes itself as “an alliance of global companies from the plastics and consumer goods value chain … to advance solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean”. It will seek to advanced means to minimise and manage plastic waste, and help to enable a circular economy to develop. To date, $1 billion has been committed to the AEPW and it hopes to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years.
Founding members include such chemicals giants as BASF, Clariant, Dow, DSM, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical, Mitsui Chemicals, Nova Chemicals, OxyChem, Sabic, Sasol, Sumitomo Chemical and Versalis. Downstream users and others who make, use, sell, process, collect and recycle plastics are also involved, while the World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a founding strategic partner.
Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor, who chairs the AEPW, described it as “the most comprehensive effort to date to end plastic waste in the environment”. Projects and collaborations that have been launched already include:
- Partnering with cities to design integrated waste management systems, where these are lacking and large amounts of unmanaged plastic waste lead via rivers to the ocean
- Funding Circulate Capital’s Incubator Network to promote technologies, business models and entrepreneurs to prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling, 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 accelerate actions to stop plastic waste from entering the environment.
- Creating a capacity-building collaboration with intergovernmental organisations such as the UN to train government officials and community-based leaders and help them solve problems locally
- Supporting Renew Oceans to aid local investment and engagement in capturing plastic waste from the ten major rivers in Asia and Africa that account for 90% of the waste that reaches the ocean
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
- Advancing and scale new recycling and recovery technologies that create value from all post-use plastics
- Education and engagement of governments, businesses and communities
- Clean-up of concentrated areas of existing areas of plastic waste, particularly major conduits like rivers