Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

A Deep Dive: SPI Calls on Plastics Companies and Consumers to Prevent Marine Debris

FriendlyTurtle_AnimatedWebA report released by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of Southern California, Santa Barbara, and recently published in Science magazine provided an estimate of the amount of debris found in the planet’s oceans. William R. Carteaux, president and CEO of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, issued this statement in response to the report:

“The pursuit of zero waste is chief among the goals set forth by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. We’re working with our members to establish practices and policies that will result in plastics products designed with expanded end of life and collection opportunities.

“Ocean litter is a global problem that threatens our health, our marine wildlife and the livelihoods of millions who depend on a healthy ocean. SPI and other plastics industry trade associations are working to combat these problems, both by taking actions to stop plastic materials from entering the marine environment and by promoting a change in attitudes to prevent the waste of plastic materials.

“SPI has always worked to support efforts to keep our oceans and waterways free of plastic debris. Nearly 30 years ago, our association helped organize the nation’s first formal beach cleanup as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Campaign, organized by the Ocean Conservancy. That event has grown from its humble beginnings on a Texas beach to a worldwide event that garners participation from more than 650,000 volunteers and removes millions of pounds of trash from beaches around the world.

William R. Carteaux, President and CEO, SPI

William R. Carteaux, President and CEO, SPI

“More than 20 years ago, we founded Operation Clean Sweep (OCS), one of SPI’s most successful programs. OCS is an industry stewardship program specifically designed to prevent resin pellet loss and help keep pellets out of the marine environment. The tools it provides to the plastics industry are being used in thousands of plants across the globe, and by all indications the program is working. Last year a study by the SEA Association documented an 80 percent decrease in concentration of pellets in the water from 1986 to 2010.

“SPI is proud to have contributed to these efforts, and continues to promote their use internationally, working with the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division to provide a royalty-free license to any global plastics organization that would like to implement the program. But we also support the cause of eliminating marine debris by supporting recycling and educating the public about the value of plastic materials. SPI works tirelessly to create new markets for recycled plastic materials, and to spur innovation that makes recycling plastic products easier and more widespread for all consumers and for all types of plastics, from polystyrene foams to rigid packaging to plastic bags and everything in between.

“SPI will continue to work and collaborate with other industry organizations to facilitate programs that increase recycling and eliminate the loss of plastic pellets and materials that end up in our oceans and waterways. By working together, we can drive the meaningful recovery of plastics products that will stop marine debris at its source.”

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