Dow is playing a lead role in the formation of a new alliance of global companies to advance solutions that eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean.
Dow is a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), a newly formed organization committing more than $1 billion with the goal of raising $1.5 billion over the next five years to develop and scale solutions that manage plastic waste and promote post-use solutions of plastic. The Alliance, currently comprised of nearly 30 companies, will develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimize and manage plastic waste and promote solutions by transitioning to a circular economy for plastics. The Alliance membership represents global companies and organizations located throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
“Keeping our environment free of waste is important to the future of Dow and our industry, but more importantly, it’s important to the future of our planet,” said Jim Fitterling, chief executive officer of Dow. “This initiative brings together companies, governments, NGOs and consumers to accelerate efforts to drive innovation, provide much-needed resources, and take decisive action to put an end to plastic waste in the environment.”
The Alliance is a not-for-profit organization that includes companies from across the global plastics and consumer goods value chain, including chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies, along with a strategic partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
The Alliance will make investments and drive progress in four key areas:
> Infrastructure development to collect and manage waste and increase recycling;
> Innovation to advance and scale new technologies that make recycling and recovering plastics easier and create value from all post-use plastics;
> Education and engagement of governments, businesses, and communities to mobilize action; and,
> Clean up concentrated areas of plastic waste already in the environment, particularly the major conduits of waste, like rivers, that carry land-based plastic waste to the ocean.
“Solving this critical world challenge will require a diverse set of solutions developed by an equally diverse group of stakeholders,” said Fitterling. “The Alliance to End Plastic Waste brings together some of the most innovative minds in the world, allowing us to explore, develop and implement those solutions.”
Dow’s lead role in the AEPW is another example of the company’s actions, commitments and investments to help eliminate plastic waste from the environment. Most recently the company has:
> Invested in people and companies working toward solutions: In October, Dow announced that it became a founding investor in Circulate Capital’s $100 million effort to incubate and finance companies and infrastructure that prevent waste in oceans. Circulate Capital’s mission is to demonstrate the viability of investment in the waste management and recycling sectors to attract the institutional investment capital needed to scale integrated recycling and waste management companies and infrastructure across South and Southeast Asia.
> Engaged with government: Dow is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership, designed to bring businesses, civil society, national and local governments, community groups and world-class experts together to collaborate on solving plastic pollution. This partnership is initially funded by the governments of Canada and the U.K., along with Dow and several global brands, with the objective to have investable localized solutions in place by 2020, which can then be adapted and implemented in other countries. The first project is a collaboration with the government of Indonesia.
> Cleaned up of existing waste: Dow’s recent #PullingOurWeight campaign, which began in fall 2018, included more than 5,600 Dow employees, families and friends participating in 55 cleanups globally, removing more than 52,500 pounds of trash and litter from beaches and waterways.
> Innovated for recyclability: Product innovation is another key part of Dow’s efforts to end plastics waste in the environment. Dow’s RecycleReady technology enables manufacturers to develop packaging that can qualify for the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s “How2Recycle” label and can be recycled via polyethylene recycling streams such as the grocery store drop-off system in the U.S. Dow also continues to focus on compatibilizer technologies which allow multi-layer packaging materials to be recycled into new products.
> Advanced waste to energy projects: In 2014, Dow initiated the Hefty® EnergyBag® recovery initiative which collects hard-to-recycle plastics and converts them into valuable resources. As of July 2018, the Hefty® EnergyBag® program has collected more than 176,500 bags and diverted more than 115 tons of plastics from landfills, the equivalent of approximately 92 million snack-sized chip bags or 546 barrels of diesel fuel. Dow recently announced another $100,000 in grant funding for organizations to establish programs in their communities.
> Worked closely with leading NGOs: Dow also announced in October 2018 that it is donating an additional $1 million to Ocean Conservancy over the next two years to support waste collection and recycling solutions in Southeast Asian countries. This money will be used for projects that build the capacity of local non-governmental organizations and partnerships with city leaders to develop, scale and replicate implementable solutions.
> Invested in recycling and waste management solutions: Another step Dow is taking to complement its circular economy activities is to drive development of new commercial recycling business models and growth strategies to monetize plastics waste recycling streams globally.
> Continues to collaborate across the value chain: Dow is also a founding member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, which collaborates with packaging converters and brand owners to increase production of stand-up pouches that can be recycled through existing polyethylene film recycling streams.