How to Help Companies Meet Plastic Waste Commitments

Plastic pollution is a pervasive problem and since the world’s recycling systems are in chaos after China stopped accepting their waste there’s an urgent need for companies to step up their efforts to keep plastic out of landfills and natural environments.

WWF estimates as few as 100 companies have the potential to help prevent roughly 10 million metric tons of the world’s plastic waste pollution through industry, private sector and government collaboration. Which is why last year they launched ReSource: Plastic, an activation hub for corporations to collaborate and get the support they need to meet their corporate commitments on plastic waste.

Why This Matters: We’ve said this many times but recycling and plastic pollution prevention cannot merely fall on municipalities. Companies have to do their part to move away from virgin plastic, work to make packaging reusable, and keep plastic out of nature. In 2019 we saw a multitude of ambitious corporate commitments on plastic, 2020 will reveal whether these commitments are being kept and will also help pinpoint the specific challenges that have been encountered.

A Changing Landscape: In recent years the public has become far more aware of plastics pollution. This is evidenced by plastic straw and bag bans around the nation. This has also caused parties along the plastics value chain to work together to prevent plastic from making it into the environment.

As Utility Dive explained, plastic packaging manufacturers and companies that use packaging to house their products have become more vocal in maintaining that successful plastic waste solutions require collaboration among all players, including end users.

  • Consumers drive demand — including for recyclable products and recycled content in products — which prompts manufacturers to take action on reworking product designs.
  • That, along with material import restrictions from China and other countries, has resulted in a new wave of domestic recycling end market development.

The Missing Link: You can’t manage what you can’t measure and for companies to be able to reduce their plastic waste they have to better understand data and establish data-driven practices to prevent pollution. What’s different about ReSource is that it’s not another plastic commitment, its purpose is to provide metrics, data analysis, and a common language so that companies can standardize their commitments to things like plastics recycling, recycling innovation, and creating closed-loop systems for plastic items.

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