Resources and waste firms Veolia and Suez are among 27 businesses to launch a ‘global alliance’ intended to improve the collection and recycling of plastic products.
Signatories to the initiative have committed more than £1.16 billion [$1.5 billion] over the next five years, which will be delivered through the not-for-profit organisation – the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW). The organisation has a core aim to ‘eliminate plastic waste in the environment’, in particular ocean pollution.
Other signatories to the initiative include oil companies ExxonMobil, Shell and Total and the consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble.
Launched yesterday (16 January), AEPW says it “will develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimise and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy”.
The primary focus will be in countries with poor waste management infrastructure, the Alliance has said, with an aim to invest in waste management facilities that will prevent plastic entering the oceans.
A spokesman for the Alliance told letsrecycle.com that some investment could also ‘support new green technologies’ in plastic in both Europe and the UK, despite the organization’s primary focus on the Far East.
The Alliance said that studies have suggested that 60% of plastic in the oceans originates in South East Asia. China has traditionally been a major market for recyclable plastic waste – however recent changes in policy from the Chinese government have seen a crackdown on what is perceived as poor quality waste, including from the UK and Europe, entering the country.
Commenting on the launch of the initiative, David Taylor, chairman, president and chief executive of Procter & Gamble, and chairman of the AEPW, said: “Everyone agrees that plastic waste does not belong in our oceans or anywhere in the environment. This is a complex and serious global challenge that calls for swift action and strong leadership. This new alliance is the most comprehensive effort to date to end plastic waste in the environment.
“I urge all companies, big and small and from all regions and sectors, to join us.”
Projects to be backed through the initiative include designing waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is currently lacking, as well as funding new technologies to make recycling and recovering plastics ‘easier’ and support a global data-gathering project to gather data on the
Veolia chief executive, Antoine Frérot, a vice chairman of the AEPW, added: “Success will require collaboration and coordinated efforts across many sectors – some that create near-term progress and others that require major investments with longer timelines.
“Addressing plastic waste in the environment and developing a circular economy of plastics requires the participation of everyone across the entire value chain and the long term commitment of businesses, governments, and communities. No one country, company or community can solve this on their own.”
The full list of founder members of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste includes: BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A., Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).
Alliance to End Plastic Waste