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