Industry alliance sets out $1bn to tackle oceans' plastic waste

Updated: Jun 5, 2019


By Fiona Harvey, theguardian.com


The scourge of plastic waste in the world’s oceans is the target of a new global alliance of businesses which says it will try to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced and improve recycling.


The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, launched on Wednesday, includes companies producing consumer goods and plastic, as well as waste management and recycling firms. Among more than 25 companies joining the effort are household names such as Procter & Gamble, Shell, BASF and ExxonMobil.


Together the companies have committed $1bn (£778m) over the next five years, with an aspiration to raise that to $1.5bn (£1.2bn) if further members join.


The firms intend to invest in a wide variety of projects, including research and development into new recycling technologies, building infrastructure to collect and recycle waste, and cleaning of areas where plastic waste concentrates, such as in rivers.


About 8m tonnes of plastic waste is dumped in the seas annually, according to the UN. Plastic in the seas can choke fish and other marine creatures, destroy habitats and enter the food chain. But despite increasing public awareness about the problem, highlighted by Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II programmes, there has been little sign of it abating.


David Taylor, chief executive of Procter & Gamble, who will chair the alliance, said industries involved in plastic production, use and recycling, had the ability to make a substantial difference to the amount of plastic waste polluting the oceans if they combined their efforts.


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