Thirty companies have joined forces to establish the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which aims to advance solutions to reduce and eliminate plastic waste from the environment, especially the ocean.
The alliance is a nonprofit organisation that involves companies from across the global plastics and consumer goods value chain, including chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters and waste management companies.
The founding members are BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, Clariant, Covestro, CP Group, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation US, 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.
The AEPW, which will work with governments, intergovernmental organisations, academia, nongovernmental organisations and civil society to invest in joint projects to eliminate plastic waste from the environment, has committed more than $1-billion.
The goal is to invest $1.5-billion over the next five years, which will aid in developing new solutions and bring to scale the solutions that will minimise and manage plastic waste, as well as enable a circular economy.
Understanding where the plastic waste originates from is key, states the AEPW. 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 ten major rivers around the world, mainly in Asia and Africa.
Many of these rivers flow through densely populated areas that 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 mobilise action; and the 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.
“One important measure to end uncontrolled entry of plastics into the environment is to build up closed circles where plastic can be used as new raw material. The chemical industry plays an important role in innovating and implementing large-scale processes to convert plastic waste into new products,” says BASF chairperson Dr Martin Brudermüller.
“By contributing to the lightening of materials, plastics improve the energy efficiency of our everyday products and reduce our carbon dioxide emissions; however, it is critical to improve the management of their end-of-life to ensure they do not end up in the environment,” adds Total Refining & Chemicals president Bernard Pinatel.