Welcome to the Spring Edition of the Plastics Beat. Our lead story this month is about how plastic recycling can help prevent ocean debris and litter.
This is a serious situation that is likely to get worse if we don’t do something to stem the tide of plastics washing into our oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. Think about this statistic – in 2010 according to the Trash Free Seas Alliance, 8 million metric tons of plastic waste went into the ocean. That is an astounding amount and one that should give everyone pause. The plastic that is in our waterways is impacting our environment and our food supply. That same Trash Free Seas Alliance report found that there is some form of plastic debris found in 25 percent of fish sold in the United States. While these numbers may be astounding, it’s not too late to do something about it. The first step is to prevent the plastic from entering the waterways initially. That’s where plastic recycling comes in. Plastics recyclers can be part of the solution by increasing plastic recovery and strengthening markets that use recycled plastics. As part of this effort, ISRI has been educating its members about this topic and have brought in speakers from the Trash Free Seas Alliance to speak about the issue in front of the Plastics Division. We continued the effort by holding a webinar on June 1 with speakers from the American Chemistry Council and the Trash Free Seas Alliance. Both of these groups are eager to have ISRI play a stronger role in strengthening recycling and preventing plastics from entering the world’s waterways. At the conclusion of the webinar, ISRI’s Plastics Division embarked upon a long-term effort to play a major role in preventing ocean plastic debris. This effort will require the input and efforts from our members. This is an issue that can have profound repercussions on the health of our planet for years to come. Please let me know if you’re interested in helping us craft our strategy and find out more on how you can help.
ISRI Plastics Division Chair