Nine founding members of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste © End Plastic Waste/BASF
Nine founding members of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste © End Plastic Waste/BASF

Global alliance announces $1.5bn action plan to end plastic waste

18 January 2019

An alliance of companies across a range of sectors has been formed to launch a $1.5bn action plan to eliminate plastic waste in the environment and develop a circular economy of plastics.

Nearly 30 founding companies have joined forces to create the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) in “the most comprehensive effort to date”. The plan is to invest $1.5bn over the next five years, with more than $1bn raised so far.

The initiative will “develop, deploy and bring to scale solutions that will minimise and manage plastic waste and promote post-use solutions”, said AEPW.

The alliance is a not-for-profit organisation made up of the plastics value chain, which includes chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies.

“This new alliance is the most comprehensive effort to date to end plastic waste in the environment,” said David Taylor, chairman, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble, and chairman of AEPW. “I urge all companies, big and small and from all regions and sectors, to join us,” he added.

Veolia CEO Antoine Frérot, vice chairman of the AEPW, said: “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.” 

In collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a strategy has been created to clean up critically affected areas, educate society and governmental institutions, innovate recycling technology and increase reliable accessible data, and develop waste management infrastructure.

Peter Bakker, president and CEO of the WBCSD, said: “While our effort will be global, the Alliance can have the greatest impact on the problem by focusing on the parts of the world where the challenge is greatest; and by sharing solutions and best practices so that these efforts can be amplified and scaled-up around the world.” 

AEPW has announced projects to help end plastic waste, including backing The Incubator Network to develop and promote technologies, business models and entrepreneurs that prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling. It will also be supporting Renew Oceans, a company that works to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean.

According to the European Commission, 25m tonnes of disposable plastic is consumed in the EU alone, with less than 30% being recycled. Research from the Ocean Conservancy shows that nearly 80% of plastic waste in the ocean begins as litter on land, therefore the challenge also needs to be addressed at the source: plastic packaging and waste management. AEPW has adopted the circular economy of plastics principle, which aims to transform the future of plastics by changing the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled.

Henkel, a German chemical and consumer goods company, said it was driving progress toward a circular value chain for plastics through efforts such as making 100% of Henkel’s packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable, and using 35% recycled plastic for its consumer goods products in Europe by 2025.

BASF is developing innovative technologies that promote the recovering and recycling of plastics in its recently initiated ChemCycling project, which created the first pilot products based on chemically recycled plastic waste.

Martin Brudermüller, CEO of BASF SE, said: “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.”

The following companies are the founding members of the Alliance: BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation USA, Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).

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