Yesterday in Washington, DC, several Alliance members gathered with United States Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), co-sponsors of the Save Our Seas act, to discuss how the Alliance will use its collective resources and global expertise in engineering, science and materials design to drive solutions to help end plastic waste leaking into the environment, especially the ocean.
The group agrees that plastic waste in our environment is unacceptable and we all have a vested interest in getting this right. The Alliance will be investing up to $1.5 billion over five years, but that’s just a start. Jim Fitterling, CEO of Dow Chemical, said it is seed money to support the scaling up new technologies, ideas, innovation and business models. Modern society needs the miracle of plastics. But we also cannot ignore the fact that plastic waste is a global challenge that we must solve, together.
Selena Jackson, Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy at Procter & Gamble, said that P&G, a founding Alliance member, is exploring new business models, providing consumers with more durable packaging that can cleaned and reused, and innovating materials with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR) instead of virgin plastic.
Moreover, Tom Salmon, CEO of Berry Global Group, explained how plastic waste can be a valuable renewable resource that should be put to use. If we have the ability to sort, reuse and recycle plastics, and then incentivize businesses to invest in new infrastructure across the value chain, we can help tackle the global issue.
The group was reminded by Graham van’t Hoff, Executive Vice President of Shell Chemicals, that the Alliance is global because the problem is global. But, it is a problem that is fixable, and countries where this is a societal and environmental problem want to try and solve it.
Senators Sullivan and Whitehouse also said they will work on a new bill this year, with a focus on encouraging public-private partnerships, a goal shared by the Alliance.
“This new coalition of private sector businesses investing significant resources toward solving the marine debris crisis is an exciting development and cause for hope,” said Senator Sullivan. “We know plastic waste is one critical environmental issue that is solvable, actionable, and measurable—especially when we have all stakeholders pulling on the same oar together. Senator Whitehouse and I are eager to unveil Save Our Seas 2.0, legislation that will build on the provisions of the Save Our Seas Act and have a particular focus on incentivizing the private sector and innovators to step forward with new technologies and systems to protect our marine ecosystems. We can solve this – and I believe we will.”