Our Priorities

Solutions to Marine Litter

The WPC works in partnership on a wide range of initiatives to prevent the leakage of plastics into our oceans, and is pressing for urgent measures to address the structural causes of marine pollution, including the lack of collection and recycling of municipal waste.

Supporting industry and collaborative approaches to reducing marine litter

Awareness and concern about the environmental and health impact of plastic in our oceans has increased considerably over recent years.

It is estimated that 80% of the plastic in our oceans started as land-based litter. It comes from a variety of different sources including carelessly discarded consumer products, inadequate or non-existent waste management infrastructure, as well as the manufacture and transportation of resin pellets, flakes and powder.

The plastics industry has been – and remains – committed to finding and implementing practical solutions to the problem of marine litter.

In 2011 the global plastics industry officially united under a Global Declaration reflecting specific actions to prevent marine litter.

The Global Declaration on Marine Litter has 75 signatories, with more than 355 implemented projects in 40 countries working on keeping plastics out of the oceans.

With the support of the WPC, the industry and members are engaged in a number of initiatives designed to prevent marine litter at source. This includes partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, including plastic converters, recyclers, governments, NGOs and researchers.

This includes projects like Operation Clean Sweep® an international program designed to prevent plastic pellets, flakes, powder being lost during their manufacture and transportation. This program has made significant advances and continues to evolve including, most recently, the introduction of a third-party certification scheme in Europe.

Supporting a global agreement to address plastic pollution

To further stem the flow of plastics into the ocean, we must urgently start collecting and recycling municipal solid waste, with a focus on countries where such systems are not yet in place. With this objective in mind, the WPC is working to ensure the Global Plastics Agreement, which is currently being negotiated, helps to bring adequate waste management infrastructure to the 3 billion people who do currently have access to it.