Plastic Disclosure Project

Much ado about plastic  

By Doug Woodring

- Published on May 30, 2013 by Cleanbiz Asia

   'CleanBiz Asia' has conducted an interview with Ocean Recovery Alliance's very own Doug Woodring. The interview highlights that although there is a problem with population growth and waste, there is also a huge opportunity for the global community to take and benefit from. This is where the Plasticity Forum 2013 plays a huge part; this forum discusses the opportunities and forward thinking innovations that can solve the problem of plastic waste in a productive way. Hear the interview here!

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What is PDP?

Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainable Plastic - April 10th, Hong Kong

Join us for a big discussion on the challenges and opportunities of plastic, April 10th, at the Credit Suisse theater in the ICC Building, Hong Kong.  Speakers include Christine Loh, Under Secretary for the Environment and  Alastair MacGregor, COO of Trucost.  Admission is free, but registration is required.  Click here for more information. 


Video Introduction of the Plastic Disclosure Project: 


The World Bank estimates that the production of municiple solid waste could double by 2025.  Even if this is only partially correct, the environmental impacts could be significant, as most of the countries where populations and consumption are growing, do not have nearly enough capacity to handle this flow of trash - even today.  This lack of capacity to handle our waste generation is what impacts our waters, health, city operations, tourism, and eventually the ocean.  However, if waste were viewed as a resource, we would be able to create tens of thousands of new jobs, create new revenue streams, and eleviate much of the environmental impact that waste has on our communities today.   

The Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP) was launched at the Clinton Global Initiative, and is an international program which is free to use, enabling stakeholders in governments, companies and institutions to focus on the most difficult of the waste streams - plastic.  With measurement and knowledge of corporate material use and waste generation, including the after-life role that these materials represent, we will be able to greatly increase the efficiency in how these resources are recovered, reducing their environmental impacts along the way.  The PDP is now being adopted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and their Global Partnership for Marine Litter, as well as the World Bank's Global Partnership for Oceans.  The program can be used by everyone, and does not require legislative changes, bans or taxes in order to have it become effective, because we believe measurement will lead to better management.

Plastics have many benefits including their durability, cheapness and light weight, but these benefits can cause problems for the environment when not managed properly after their original use. Many of the world's waste management and recycling infrastructures can't keep pace with our consumption and waaste creation.  Most plastics do not easily biodegrade, and instead remain in the environment for decades, even centuries.  Plastic's cheapness encourages its ever greater use in single-use packaging, and discourages recycling, because of the variation in material types and difficulty in reaching economies of scale with waste streams that come from so many different sources.  But, this waste stream can become a resource stream if we focus on its capture and  re-use in new ways.  

Millions of tons of durable, light-weight plastic waste are ending up in our landfills, countrysides, rivers and oceans, where it remains for decades, with some breaking up into ever-smaller pieces, but not going away.  Smaller plastic pieces are mistakenly eaten by birds and fish, potentially entering our food chain.

PDP is an multi-stakeholer, investor-supported global initiative to encourage the world's businesses and institutions to measure their annual plastic use or waste aggregation within their operations.  Without measurement, it is hard to manage, but with focus, it is easier to develop innovative strategies to efficiently use plastic, while reducing the environmental impact.

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