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What the Plastics Industry is doing about the 'Plastics Litter Problem'?

SpecialChem / Oct 25, 2010

While most agree that plastics litter is essentially a problem caused by irresponsible people, not by plastics, the burden of doing something about the problem falls partly on the plastics industry. Marine debris is a growing problem that has attracted worldwide attention, prompting interest by government agencies, private enterprise, environmental groups and citizens. Although marine litter is made up of all sorts of materials and products and comes from both land and marine sources, relatively lightweight plastics often float, making some plastics more visible than other types of marine debris.

So what should be done with bags and other plastic waste, and how can we solve the problem of marine debris? In 2007, the American Chemistry Council hosted a marine debris solutions workshop and brought together the best minds in academia, government, industry and the nonprofit sector. Workshop participants agreed that the causes of marine debris are both global in nature and complex, and that effective solutions should focus on three areas: increasing recycling, promoting anti-litter education and establishing local and international partnerships. Product and recycling innovations are also playing a role in reducing litter and waste. If the plastics industry can show the public that there are solutions to waste, maybe consumers will begin to listen to the message that plastics are helpful, not harmful, to our society.

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