American Chemistry Council responds to UN’s marine litter issue

American Chemistry Council responds to UN’s marine litter issue

ACC’s Steve Russell says plastics makers are committed to preventing marine litter and focused on solid waste solutions.

June 15, 2017
Recycling Today Staff
International Recycling News Plastics
The American Chemistry Council (ACC), Washington, has responded to a “Call for Action” that was announced at the United Nations Ocean Conference, held June 5-9, 2017, in New York.
 
The Call for Action is for voluntary commitments on marine litter. ACC’s Steve Russell, vice president of plastics, released the following statement: 

“Experts agree: to stem the tide of marine debris, we must prevent land-based trash from reaching our oceans in the first place. We must do so urgently, with an initial focus on parts of the world where such systems are lacking. This includes reducing waste, improved collection and sortation, matched with the latest recycling and recovery technologies.

"While we congratulate the United Nations (UN) on its tremendous work this week to prioritize this important issue, we had hoped the outcomes would focus more on building political and financial support for improved waste management, or on deploying innovative recycling and energy recovery. Recommendations to instead ban or reduce the use of specific products may give the illusion of progress, but in fact don’t help us solve the bigger problem.

“Nevertheless, our industry remains committed to delivering solutions. Plastics makers currently have more than 260 projects around the world either planned, underway or completed to combat marine litter. Our combined efforts, to research and prevent marine debris around the world under our ‘Declaration of the Global Plastics Industry for Solutions on Marine Litter,’ have grown each year since 2011, when it was launched. Signed by 70 plastics associations in 35 countries, the declaration focuses on education, public policy, best practices, plastics recycling and recovery, plastic pellet containment and research. 

“In addition, we are working with leaders in regions where ocean plastic inputs are the highest, to ensure that waste management systems are a priority and to catalyze investment in those systems. And we are working with the UN to provide technical expertise and a range of commitments under the Global Partnership on Marine Litter. 

“People around the world rely on plastics in innumerable ways. Durable and lightweight, plastics are amazing materials that provide important societal benefits including energy and resource savings, preventing food waste, improved health care and consumer protection. But when plastics are improperly managed, their full sustainability benefits aren’t realized. Solutions require the cooperation of industry, civil society and other stakeholders to effect meaningful change.”