Mounds of trash littering a beach as far as the eye can see.

Companies Commit to Reducing Plastic Waste in 2019

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The new year is upon us, and most of us have either not yet solidified our New Year’s resolutions or have already reneged on them.

But it’s never too late to make good.

In fact, some companies just announced their goal for the new year: to reduce plastic waste in 2019 and beyond — a commitment they’re backing with billions of dollars in support.

“This is a complex and serious global challenge that calls for swift action and strong leadership.”

On January 16, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) launched with a goal to help end such waste in the environment. Already, the organization has approximately 30 member companies, which have collectively committed more than $1 billion to AEPW’s cause, with a longer-term goal to invest $1.5 billion over five years. Founding members include global plastics and consumer goods companies such as BASF, Formosa Plastics Corporation USA, ExxonMobil, Mitsubishi, Procter & Gamble, Shell and others.

A nonprofit organization, AEPW is focused on advancing solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, particularly in the world’s oceans. To do so, “the alliance will develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimize and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy,” according to AEPW’s website.

And the alliance is urging other companies to join in this global effort.

“Everyone agrees that plastic waste does not belong in our oceans or anywhere in the environment. This is a complex and serious global challenge that calls for swift action and strong leadership. This new alliance is the most comprehensive effort to date to end plastic waste in the environment,” said David Taylor, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble and AEPW chairman. “I urge all companies, big and small and from all regions and sectors, to join us.”

“It must be addressed and we believe the time for action is now.”

AEPW plans to begin implementing solutions to end plastic waste in the environment through four key efforts: partnering with cities to develop waste management systems, developing a data-collection initiative to support projects globally, creating opportunities to build capacity and collaboration and aiding Renew Oceans to help capture plastic waste before it enters the sea.

Further efforts will concentrate on infrastructure and recycling, innovation and new technologies, education and engagement and the collection of plastic already in the environment. According to the Ocean Conservancy, about 80 percent of plastic waste in the ocean began as litter on the ground; most of this is carried out to sea via our rivers and streams.

“The issue of plastic waste is seen and felt all over the world,” said Bob Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell and a vice chairman of AEPW. “It must be addressed, and we believe the time for action is now.”

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Alexandra Vollman
Alexandra Vollman is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for the outdoors — especially hiking. As the co-founder and editor of Modern Conservationist, she oversees editorial management for the site. She has a bachelor’s degree in media communications and a master’s degree in writing and publishing. Alexandra enjoys using her knack for reporting and storytelling to instill in others a better understanding of and appreciation for nature.

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