More Plastic Than Fish In Our World’s Oceans

Plastic Bag
photo courtesy of the NOAA Photo library

By 2050, there could be more plastic (by weight) than fish in the world’s oceans.

Let that sink in for a moment. More plastic than fish.

That’s why Austin has just decided to sign on to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, an initiative spearheaded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN. The idea behind the effort is to get as many businesses and governments as possible to join together in creating “a new normal for plastic packaging.”

So far, the commitment has been adopted by 290 organizations, including companies representing 20 percent of all plastic packaging produced globally (H&M, Mars, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, etc).

The goal is to:

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and move from single-use to reuse packaging models
  • Innovate to ensure 100 percent of plastic packaging can be easily and safely reused, recycled, or composted by 2025
  • Circulate the plastic produced, by significantly increasing the amounts of plastics reused or recycled and made into new packaging or products

Targets will be reviewed every 18 months (and ratcheted up as necessary) and businesses that sign on to the commitment will publish annual data on their progress.

“We know that cleaning up plastics from our beaches and oceans is vital, but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year,” said Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “We need to move upstream to the source of the flow. The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment draws a line in the sand, with businesses, governments and others around the world uniting behind a clear vision for what we need to create a circular economy for plastic…”

Wondering how this is playing out locally? Watch our video interview with Natalie Betts, recycling economic development program manager with the City of Austin.

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