Eliminating Ocean Plastics: What’s the Plastics Industry Doing to Help?

Plastics help make our homes more energy efficient, our cars safer, and our food last longer. But nobody benefits when plastics end up in our oceans.

Everyone agrees: plastics don’t belong in our oceans. The plastics industry is taking action.

The plastics industry is committed to the goal of eliminating marine litter. Plastics makers are collaborating with scientists and conservation groups around the world on hundreds of projects designed to keep plastics out of our oceans.

Seventy-five plastics associations in 40 countries have signed the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter. The 4th Progress Report summarizes the commitments made under the Declaration and the marine litter projects undertaken.

Here is a sample of these projects:

Operation Clean Sweep

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Operation Clean Sweep

Plastics makers typically sell their material in the form of plastic pellets about the size of split peas. If these pellets are spilled when they’re being made or transported, in some cases they can make their way into local waterways and our oceans. To help prevent spills in the first place, the international program Operation Clean Sweep helps each segment of the plastics industry implement responsible stewardship practices—with the goal of zero pellet loss.

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Green Antz Bricks

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Green Antz Bricks

Recycling helps keep plastics out of our oceans. Plastics makers in The Philippines partnered with NESTLE to develop a process to turn used plastics into building bricks. Today GreenAntz Builders creates super-strong composite bricks from a combination of used plastics, cement, and sand that can be used in buildings, walkways, and more.

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Closed Loop Ocean

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Closed Loop Ocean

In some Southeast Asian countries, rapid economic growth is outpacing the ability to manage waste and keep it out of waterways and oceans. The international partnership Closed Loop Ocean is making investments in Southeast Asia to improve waste management and recycling systems that capture and recycle used plastics and other materials.

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Amsterdam Clean Water

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Amsterdam Clean Water

A popular tourist destination, Amsterdam struggles to keep litter out of its picturesque canals. The Amsterdam Clean Water partnership aims to prevent litter in canals by raising awareness of the problem and changing how waste is managed in the beautiful city.

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Waste Free Environment

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Waste Free Environment

Waste Free Environment promotes proper disposal and recycling of used plastics. WFE events combine beach cleanups and teach participants to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Spearheaded by plastics makers in the Arabian Gulf, the program has spread to other countries and involves thousands of participants.

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Beachy Clean

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Beachy Clean

Virginia Beach is a vacationer’s wonderland, with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, so it’s important to keep litter in check. Keep It Beachy Clean aims to increase awareness of litter prevention among hotel guests and employees. The program identifies actions they can take to support clean, safe beaches and waterways.

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I Want to Be Recycled

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I Want to Be Recycled

Used plastics can be reborn as park benches, patio furniture, and bottles—instead of becoming waste or litter. That’s one goal of “I Want To Be Recycled,” a national public service advertising campaign by Keep America Beautiful that aims to inspire people to become everyday recyclers.

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The Recycling Partnership

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The Recycling Partnership

Since 2012, America’s plastics makers have provided continual support to The Recycling Partnership, a national recycling nonprofit that helps expand and improve residential recycling nationwide. The Recycling Partnership provides curbside recycling carts to communities, works to reduce non-recyclables placed in recycling bins, and promotes increased demand for recycled plastics. Curbside recycling is the easiest way for Americans to recycle, which saves resources and helps keep plastics and other materials from becoming waste or litter.

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For more information on these and other efforts to eliminate marine litter, visit MarineLitterSolutions.com.