October 30, 2018 Bali, INDONESIA – The Trash Free Seas Alliance® announced today at the fifth Our Ocean Conference in Bali, Indonesia that the group has collectively committed more than $100 million in funding for research and incubation of scalable solutions to the ocean plastic crisis and eliminated 500,000 tons of virgin plastic from products and packaging annually. Launched by Washington-based NGO Ocean Conservancy in 2012, the Alliance brings together leaders from the private sector, civil society organizations, and academia to identify pragmatic and measurable solutions to the ocean plastic crisis.
Ocean plastic pollution is a complex problem that requires a suite of solutions,” said Nick Mallos, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas® program. “We need to focus on drastically improving our reduction, reuse, and recycling plastics, but we also need to redesign our products and rethink the products we produce and use. It’s also imperative that we ensure proper waste collection and recycling systems are in place in all communities to deal with plastic waste currently in the system. The commitments put forth by Alliance members represent the much needed cross-sector collaboration that is needed to minimize, manage and mitigate ocean plastic pollution.
In 2010, Ocean Conservancy supported the convening of an independent, scientific working group to study the sources, fate and impacts of ocean plastics. That working group led to research published in the journal Science in 2015 showing that eight million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year, much of it from just a few rapidly developing countries in Southeast Asia where waste management has not kept pace with economic growth. Since then, Alliance members have committed to investing in waste collection and management solutions as well as changes in their products to address this reality.
From the outset the Trash Free Seas Alliance® has spearheaded critical research into the ocean plastic problem and truly taken that research to heart,” said Chever Voltmer, Plastic Initiatives Director at Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas® program. “We know that investing in waste management in key geographies and curbing use of virgin plastics are important steps that the private sector can take; and that’s exactly what Alliance members have announced today. We look forward to continuing our shared fight for trash-free seas.
Collectively, Alliance members will work in over 100 countries and 1,000 cities to advance marine debris and waste management solutions through policy, education, research, and collaborative initiatives, engaging 1 million people annually in direct, on the ground action to combat marine debris and raising awareness on the threats of marine debris to over 1 billion people globally.
Trash Free Seas - Spearheaded by the Ocean Conservancy, the Trash Free Seas Alliance® unites industry, science and conservation leaders who share a common goal for a healthy ocean free of trash. As a founding member of the Alliance, Project AWARE is working with corporations, economists, waste experts, and other non-governmental organizations to identify ways for communities to profitably gather, separate, sell and store plastic waste and prevent it from entering the ocean.