Global plastics industry effort to combat marine litter grows in 2016
Seven new signatories were added to The Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, also informally known as the “Joint Declaration” in 2016.
New participants include the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA), the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BPGMEA), the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), the Ghanaian Plastics Manufacturers Association (GPMA), the Myanmar Plastics Industries Association (MPIA), the Indonesian Olefins, Aromatics and Plastics Association (INAPLA), and the Vietnam Plastics Association (VPA).
“We’re excited to welcome each of these new partners, who bring perspectives from countries in Asia and Africa, on types of plastic not previously represented in our Joint Declaration,” said Steve Russell, Vice President, Plastics, American Chemistry Council, at the 27th Global Meeting on Plastics and Sustainability in Hanoi, Vietnam. At the meeting, delegates also agreed that going forward the group will become the “Global Plastics Alliance.”
Delegates from 17 countries and four continents participated in the Global Meeting – making this the largest and best attended meeting to date.
“Addressing marine litter issues effectively requires that we bring local, regional and global stakeholders together,” said Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope. “Broadening our fold helps us find new partners and opportunities to tackle this very serious problem.”
“Plastic producers from around the world are coming together to keep used plastic out of the environment, and to further improve the sustainability of these energy and resource efficient materials. The strong participation at this meeting demonstrates that this industry is committed to providing solutions to ensure a more sustainable future,” said Callum Chen, Secretary General of the Asia Plastics Forum.
“Together, as a united, global industry, we’re involved in hundreds of marine litter prevention programs in all regions of the globe,” added Chen. “But there is still much to do. Growing our ranks helps further grow our work.”
The Global Declaration was launched in March 2011 at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference. Today, the Declaration has been signed by 69 plastics associations from regions across the globe. Recognizing their important role in fighting marine litter, these plastics associations have launched and are supporting projects in six key areas aimed at contributing to sustainable solutions. The six focus areas of the Global Declaration are education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment.
In May, leaders from plastics organizations across the globe announced that there were approximately 260 projects planned, underway or completed. Plastics|SA has been a signatory of the Joint Declaration since 2011 and Packaging SA signed the Declaration in 2015. Douw Steyn, Director Sustainability, represents Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Council on various GPA task teams viz. advocacy, marketing and research, is the chairman of the subgroup: Stakeholder Engagement and attends GPA meetings on an annual basis. The Sustainability Council’s marine activities are in line with the 6 focus areas of the Joint Declaration with a focus on providing strategic leadership to the industry on sustainability issues. Douw is also a member of the leading team on Plastics Waste Management, led by Dr Jurgen Bruder, IK Germany, as nominated in Hanoi in 2016.