Plastic Disclosure Project

Earth Day Talk, The Ocean, Plastic and Opportunities for Change  

By Doug Woodring

- Published on April 13, 2016 by Ocean Recovery Alliance

On Earth Day, come learn from one of the global experts working on the reduction of plastic pollution in our ocean, waters and communities.  Learn about the dynamics of plastic pollution, how it differs from climate change, and why some say it is an even bigger issue. Plastic is used by virtually all of us in our daily lives and companies, and it is a highly useful material. But the complexity of the material makes it hard to re-value in its “after-life”, with the main challenge being its “capture” from the hands of the consumers or users. Learn how “bring-back” programs, mapping tools, measur…

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PDP's Current Work


"Material Solutions for Undervalued Resources"

The 5th Annual Plasticity Forum took place in Shanghai on April 27th and 28th, with great success, and the first discussion of its type on plastic sustainability in China.  Our press release was picked up by publications with a reach of over 385 million readers, so we believe that this was a very positive launch of a bid discussion on plastic sustainability, and where the leaders are going with design, innovation, materials, recycling, and a world for a reduced waste footprint.  This event was held during the same week as CHINAPLAS 2016, and included a tour to the world's 2nd biggest plastic trade show.  The Plasticity Forum also included a 1\/2-day workshop called "Go Circular - Envisioning Products and Packaging in a Circular Economy" that was held in conjunction with our partners, Successful Design, CBi China Bridge, and Green Initiatives.   

We are pleased to also announce a new report which our parnters Trucost undertook, and one of the world's first Net Benefit Analysis on sustainble plastic solutions, with Dell and Algix.  If their new materials, use of recycled content and reduced packaging were to be replicated across their industries, the benefit to the global environment and our communities would be valued at over US$3.5bn annually.  You can read the press release here, and download the Report Here. 

The next Plasticity Forum will be held in London on September 21st, as part of the London Design Festival.

A short summary video of our 2015 event in Portugal can be seen below:

Also, you can view some of the presentations or see the slides at links below. 

Download the presentations from 2015 here

Plasticity is a two day, unique business conference, as it brings together experts from many aspects of the plastic spectrum to talk about design, innovation, materials, recycling and solutions that can scale across our communities, so that there is a reduced waste footprint, and plastic is treated as the resource that it should be, even after its initial life.  

Release of new Plastic to Fuel Report - Global Update on the Emerging Industry

Download the full report here (PDF)

Download the PTF Cost Model here (xls)

 A new report on the trends in the plastic-to-fuel industry was released at the Plasticity Forum by the ACC and Ocean Recovery Alliance as a discussion tool for a variety of local and international stakeholders including: municipal and national governments, corporations, community leaders, business associations, NGOs, project developers, and others interested in the management of end-of-life[1] plastic waste.  It aims to highlight the opportunities available for creating value from plastics, in concert with the regulatory, technical and logistical barriers that need to be overcome on the path towards the widespread commercial adoption of plastics-to-fuel (PTF) technology. The report can aid stakeholders by facilitating knowledge-sharing and regulatory convergence to expedite project deployment.  Not intended as a replacement to traditional recycling practices, but given the large percentage of plastic waste that bypass recycling programs for reasons such as lack of infrastructure, capacity, and technology, PTF is becoming a viable addition to a jurisdictions mix of municipal solid waste management (MSW) management strategies.

 

The PDP's founding group, Ocean Recovery Alliance, Helps Watson Water to Move to 100% Recycled PET Bottles

 

We are please to have been parrt of the decision and thought process for Watsons Water to move to 100% recycled material (rPET) for its bottles in Hong Kong.  They are one of the first bottlers in Asia to move to 100% rPET, and their leadership has helped to avoide the production of between 50m and 100 million virgin bottles a year, as its demand for rPET diverts this much valuable material from the waste stream.  Can others follow suit? 

Global Report on Valuing Plastic

The Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP), Trucost and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the world-first report at the U.N. Environmental Assembly in Nairobi in June last year, with talks on the report given at both Sustainable Brands '14 in San Diego, and the Plasticity Forum in New York.  The report identifies some of the risks and opportunities to brands associated with plastic use. It articulates the business case for measuring, managing and disclosing plastic use, underlined by the new research which identifies $75 billion of annual natural capital costs of plastic use by the consumer goods sector. The research assesses the plastic use and disclosure of the 100 largest companies in the consumer goods industry.  You can download the full report here. 

One of our ongoing projects is the Plastic Disclosure Project, similar to that of carbon and water reporting.  If you measure it, it is easier to manage, and this means a better use of resources, with waste reduction as a result.  More information on the PDP can also be found below.

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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