Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), a not-for-profit organisation, was launched last week comprising of businesses who produce consumer goods and plastic, as well as waste management and recycling companies. More than 25 companies have signed up, including household names such as Procter & Gamble, Shell, BASF and ExxonMobil. The initiative will provide much-needed capital to stop discarded plastic waste from entering the environment and polluting oceans. So far, the Alliance companies have committed to $1bn (£778m) over the next five years, with a target of raising $1.5bn (£1.2bn) if further members join.
Alliance to End Plastic Waste – Collectively, the Alliance aims to develop and bring to scale solutions that will reduce and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy. It is a global membership with representatives from companies located throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
The member companies plan to invest in a wide variety of projects, including R&D into new recycling technologies, building suitable infrastructure to collect and recycle waste, and the cleaning of areas where plastic waste concentrates, such as in rivers.
David Taylor, Chief Executive of Procter & Gamble, who will Chair the Alliance, said industries involved in plastic production, use and recycling, had the ability to make a substantial difference to the amount of plastic waste polluting the oceans if they combined their efforts.
Mr Taylor said:
“We believe in the power of collective action and want to minimise the use of plastic, make it recyclable, and start to generate a circular economy. Plastic has value, and we want to work to recapture that value time and time again. What is different about [the alliance] is that it is collective action, across the value chain.”
“We have been working for years to minimise our use of plastic and investigate alternatives, but that by scaling it up with other companies, we can collectively do more.”
P&G, makes lots of household products, from disposable nappies and washing powder, to razors and cosmetics.
According to the UN, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our oceans every year. Whether by wayward plastic bags or plastic straws or large amounts of ‘mismanaged’ plastic waste streaming from rapidly growing economies – the problem is huge and there is little sign of it abating.