Sustainability Grid - A Collaboration to Fight Plastic Pollution
Remember the hole in the Ozone layer? At one time we were all worried it would spread and cause havoc to life on earth. Until a global coalition of countries, companies, NGO’s, scientists and other stakeholders came together to address the problem. A similar effort is underway worldwide to solve the plastic pollution problem. Already, there are a plethora of organizations ranging from small local initiatives to giant global multinational alliances.
In this issue of your Ubuntoo digest, we explore some organizations, alliances and communities around the world whose primary focus is solving plastic pollution. At Ubuntoo, we are creating a platform where all stakeholders in the “sustainability grid” can collaborate and promote the best solutions to plastic pollution.
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Venky & Peter
Co-Founders — Ubuntoo
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ALLIANCES AND PARTNERSHIPS
As the problem of plastic pollution gains more visibility, many international organizations have sprung up to address the issue. These include intergovernmental groups, industry alliances, NGO’s and combinations of the same. However, it can be confusing to navigate the profusion of alliances and partnerships, especially for organizations trying to decide where to focus their efforts. We provide below a small sample of cross-country alliances and partnerships, in addition to which there are many national and local ones. Please contact us for a more detailed report about this topic.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) – New Plastics Economy: One of the largest and most influential global organizations in this space, the EMF was founded by Dame Ellen MacArthur, who became the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe. Today, over 400 major companies have signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, pledging to reduce single use plastics and promote a circular plastic economy.
Intergovernmental Initiatives: the UN Environment announced the Global Plastics Platform in 2018 to help cities and countries establish policies and regulations to fight plastic pollution. Similarly, the European Commission launched the Circular Plastics Alliance in the same year. However, not much information is available about both initiatives.
Industry Alliances: The recently created Alliance to end Plastic Waste has over 35 large corporate members including the world’s largest plastics and petrochemical players amongst others. They have pledged $1.5 billion to fight plastic waste around the world. Apart from this, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) in USA with 350 members and the European Organization for Packaging & the Environment (EuropEN) with 45 members are two leading organizations focused on reducing the impact of packaging on the environment.
NGOs: A prominent NGO that deserves mention here is the Plastic Pollution Coalition, headquartered in USA. They claim membership of over 750 partners from around the world and have a wealth of resources for consumer awareness and policy advocacy on their website.
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- Synthetic Biology is a well-established scientific field that offers solutions to a span of societal problems and environmental pollution is one of them. Renee Cho from the Earth Institute of Columbia University wrote about how synthetic biology can help the environment.
- National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures launched an Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge in February 2019, which focuses on three strategic ways to address the growing issue of plastic pollution. They announced the 24 finalists from 13 countries that will compete for a share of $1.5 million in awards and investment.
- In Canada, the Ontario Government plans to move to full producer responsibility for plastics, printed paper and packaging. The industry supports the government's next step to shift costs and oversight of the residential recycling system.
- In the UK, Lucozade-backed edible packaging developed by Notpla (previously named Skipping Rocks Lab) will receive UK Government funding.
- Australia invests 20 million in future-proofing recycling tech: The investment is meant to support businesses developing cutting-edge recycling technologies and smart solutions.
- Several innovations are bourgeoning a “just add water revolution”, minimizing the need for excessive use of packaging. This Vox article highlights a few of these environmentally friendly dehydrated products.
This is just a small sample of good initiatives happening around the world to address plastic pollution. Now our members can register for a Daily Digest of news and stay up to date in one click about the latest news of the industry. Just click the subscribe button in our News section.
If you want a layman’s guide to understanding the environmental pros and cons of bioplastics, biodegradable plastics, PLA, PHA, etc. then this article and podcast in Ubuntoo Knowledge is for you. Are Bioplastics better for the Environment than Conventional Plastics?
“The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved”
-Richard Rogers, Architect