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Plasticizers in plastic slow down baby’s language development

Amsterdam, 9 November 2018 – In order to make hard plastic products, firming substances such as Bisphenol A (BPA) are used. To make plastic soft and pliable, on the other hand, plasticizers such as phthalates are used. Both groups of chemicals are suspected to disrupt our endocrine system. Everyone, young and old, is constantly exposed to these chemicals and not just because of plastic products. Exposure to endocrine disruptors is associated with approximately eighty diseases, including testicular cancer, obesity and reproductive disorders.

One more study can be added to the series of studies that highlight the harmfulness of these substances. Swedish and American researchers have examined urine of pregnant women for the presence of phthalates. The results were related to the vocabulary of their children when they were 30 months old. A vocabulary of less than 50 words was considered a delay in language development. On both sides of the Atlantic a significant association was found between the presence of two specific phthalates and language deficiency. CNN reported on this research.

The fact that especially pregnant women are at risk, is known for much longer. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands concluded in a report that the exposure standards for BPA should be strengthened. Exposure to BPA should be brought down, particularly for pregnant women and young children. Instead of tougher legislation, in March 2016 the then Minister of Public Health Edith Schippers (VVD) made with the commitment to the House of Parliament that the information given to pregnant women and young mothers who are breastfeeding would be extended. This was to be done in collaboration with RIVM, the Nutrition Centre and VeiligheidNL.

The Swedish and American researchers also make some recommendations to avoid risks: “Buy less processed meat, use alternatives to plastic when possible, and avoid microwaving food or beverages in plastic when possible”. The results of their study emphasise the importance of information. Has the public information indeed improved in the Netherlands after the commitment made by the Minister?

The VeiligheidNL website does not offer any information. Nutrition Centre says that “it is important that the exposure to BPA is as low as possible for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, new-borns and young children “. But also: “if you look at all the products (containing BPA) together, the amount you ingest as a consumer is far below the current health limit.” RIVM has extended their information in 2017, but the advice to prevent high intake of possible endocrine disruptors, are extremely poor and general. They read as an open door: “eat varied, use products according to the instructions and avoid situations in which you ingest the same substances for a long time.”

Pregnant women need to make do with this information. A number of questions over the telephone teach us that Child health care centres provide no specific information about avoiding exposure to BPA or phthalates. Denmark shows us that better information can be provided. How things are handled there, is summarized in a Wemos report.

In 2016, Minister of Public Health Schippers chose for better information instead of stricter legislation. The conclusion can be no other than that this information did not get off the ground. It is all the more important that the recommendations in the National Plan Endocrine Disruptors  in a Circular Economy. This plan, drawn up by Wemos and supported by, among others, the Plastic Soup Foundation and Stichting Tegengif was presented to Dutch Parliament September last.

Also read: Hospitals must become BPA-free.

Ambitions of Plastic Soup Foundation and SodaStream meet on Roatán Island

They are no standard holiday souvenirs that Maria Westerbos has brought from Honduras. A small plastic elephant without a trunk and a torn off leg of a Barbie doll – once baby pink and presumably subject of warm affection. Now a homeless and dirty piece of plastic, blackened, stained, scratched and smelly. How long these toys have been travelling, and via which route, before Maria picked them from the beach on Roatan? Only heaven knows. Now they are on her desk in Amsterdam, as silent witnesses of the plastic disaster which takes place in the seas and along coastlines worldwide.

A JOURNEY WITH A PURPOSE

The founder and Director of the Plastic Soup Foundation has returned from a visit to the Honduran island of Roatán, 8 kilometres wide and 60 kilometres long. She was there together with SodaStream-CEO Daniel Birnbaum and the 150 most senior managers of the company from 45 countries. Maria was keynote speaker and travelled along as the only representative of an NGO, together with filmmaker Chris Jordan (‘Albatross’) and an international group consisting of some twenty influencers and journalists.

The entire top layer of the Israeli company – which sells devices that convert tap water into sparkling water in an instant – flying to specifically this tropical island, was not without reason. “Daniel had a clear purpose, he wants his company to make a big change, away from disposable plastics,” says Maria. “That was also the reason I responded to this invitation. If such a big company is undergoing a radical change of direction, it is important that all your managers understand why. He wanted to confront them with all plastic junk that washes ashore on such a remote island every day. He wanted to clean up together with them, and that is what we did, joined by local school children. A few days in a row we got up between 5 and 6 o’clock in the morning, when the temperature was still reasonably comfortable. By 10 a.m. the temperature had already risen to 45 degrees.”

There was no stopping it, the plastic just kept coming. Large recognizable plastic objects such as a fan and the brush of a broom, but also flip flops, dolls, bottles, cans and especially numerous, multi-coloured plastic particles that can no longer be cleaned up by hand. The leaflets may still describe Roatán as Paradise Island, the island is now especially burdened by waste.

“There is no waste management on the island, nothing. I saw football pitches covered with waste and  children playing football around it. I saw piles of rubbish in back yards of houses, where it is dumped and occasionally set on fire. You can see the traces of burning. People throw it down this way, because no provisions have been made. Wherever you look, you see waste. Only at the homes of the superrich you can see that cleaning has been done. But also this waste ends up on large heaps along the coast line and is sooner or later carried away by the sea. That sight of all that waste hit me tremendously. I thought: If the same happens on all those islands in the world that have no waste management, all that waste that has nowhere to go, these small paradises will literally choke on waste and plastic soup. And add to this all the waste the wind blows onto the coasts and is washed ashore from god-knows-where. It made me very sad. And it also made me combative, that is the way it works with me. Worldwide, many more people at each level need to become infected, put their heels in the plastic soup and say: this far and no further.”

PLASTIC TOO DIRTY FOR RECYCLING

The island is completely surrounded by water and indeed receives the waste as a gift from all directions, from the entire Caribbean, from Guatemala, Belize and Mexico in the West and from Cuba and Haiti in the Northeast. “All drains flow directly into the water. At one point I sank away into the poop and plastic soup until halfway my calves. Oh Maria, I thought, when I struggled forward on my slippers: this can easily give you infections. If this is our future, if all bounty islands look like this or will look like this any time soon, then both humans and the ocean are at great risk. Earlier I have seen the plastic soup wash ashore on Hawaii and on the beaches in Vietnam, I have seen it float in the dead Bagmati River in Kathmandu high in the Himalayas, but to see such a small habitat in the middle of the ocean or here in the Caribbean Sea collapse under plastic trash, is certainly enough to make one weep.”

“It is therefore very interesting to see how SodaStream turns its managers into an army of plastic fighters. Yes, that was printed on the t-shirts they all wore. I found it a special experience to see how much serious dedication there is. The ambitions are high. On the closing night I heard Daniel Birnbaum say they want to clean up 95 percent of the plastic soup.”

On Roatán, SodaStream also unveiled and tested the so-called Holy Turtle, a floating system towed between two boats that should filter plastic from the sea. “Even if it works, you still face the problem what to do with the waste after you have taken it out of the water. If there is no waste management system nearby, you need to bring it to the mainland. Recycling is not an option: much plastic from the sea is so polluted that only a fraction of it is reusable. It is a complex problem, it’s not all that easy. But the intention is amazing. Daniel is infected with the same virus that infected me ten years – and many others I am happy to say.”

‘YOU MUST SEE IT WITH YOUR OWN EYES’

What made the difference for the SodaStream top executive? “He told me that he had seen many videos and pictures of the plastic misery on beaches. Then he flew to the island a few months ago to take a look. Just calculate the cost of flying 200 people to such a remote island and rent an entire resort. But if you can transfer the virus to your managers and can explain to them why you think their company must take its responsibility, then it’s terribly effective. You have to see it with your own eyes! Some companies fish for plastic in the canals of Amsterdam, which is also good. But I think that many more companies should make the same type of journey as SodaStream did. You could compare it with Bernice Notenboom who’s going to the melting Arctic with captains of industry. I would like to do something similar myself, to show CEO’s what we all do together. We are the only animal in the world that soils its own nest, with deadly results.”

“Daniel and I share that insane ambition to clean up the plastic and fix the problem. To save the world! But if you have that ambition, then, gradually, also come the disappointments. If SodaStream is serious about structurally working with us, if you want to make a difference, then it always starts with yourself. You have to begin with the approach at the source. So that is why I say: SodaStream, go on a plastic diet. Reduce your Plastic Mass Index: your PMI. We can help you with that. You need to make a plan: take the plastic out of your packaging, remove the plastic from around your packaging, replace all your plastic bottles within a couple of years. Yes, now they still have glass and plastic bottles that consumers can refill. In term, SodaStream will therefore have to dispose of those plastic bottles. The caps are also made of plastic. If you want to be a Plastic Fighter, you have to put yourself on a plastic diet. And your customers too. Actually, we all need to go on a plastic diet! We have worked hard on this concept in 2018.”

‘WE WILL GO ON A PLASTIC DIET, SO WILL YOU’

SodaStream has generously donated $10,000 to the Plastic Soup Foundation. “That is very important to us. We will use it for the ‘plastic diet for consumers’ web application that sets out to make ‘losing plastic weight’ fun and attractive. We will then also integrate the diet in an app that keeps track of where you are, so that you never can fall back. I see a nice cooperation ahead: campaigning on the plastic diet together. SodaStream saying to its consumers worldwide: ‘we are going on plastic diet, so will you! And use this app.’ Such a message can reach very many people worldwide. That is a unique proposition, it will make you stand out.”

To what extent the recently announced billion-dollar take-over of SodaStream by PepsiCo affects the plastic-free ambitions of the Israeli group, is yet to be seen. Maria sees opportunities. “The CEO of PepsiCo also visited the island, when we were there. I have the impression that Pepsi wishes to do something. But if you look at the worldwide data of World Cleanup Day, they stand cheerfully side-by-side with Coca-Cola. PepsiCo is one of the biggest polluters. It is of course a super tanker and it is particularly hard for such a huge company to change course. In comparison, SodaStream is a speedboat. SodaStream is to remain independent, so is the agreement and the intention. Maybe SodaStream can set the correct example which PepsiCo can follow and examine what they can do to tighten the single-use plastics tap. That would be fantastic.”

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Over 30 kilos of plastic waste per person a year and barely recycled

Amsterdam, 2 November 2018 – The European Commission is taking a series of measures to reduce the number of plastic packaging. In its document, ‘Changing the way we use plastics’, it states that the average European produced 31 kilograms of plastic packaging waste in 2014. Englishman Daniel Webb put it to the test. Throughout 2017, artist Webb collected all the plastic packaging from the groceries he bought. He ended up very close to the European average with 29 kilos.

Webb not only created a piece of art that shows the amount of plastic one person produces, but also analyzed that mountain of waste in detail. The numbers are represented in his report ‘Everyday plastic. What we throw away and where it goes’. The 29 kilos consisted of 4,490 pieces of plastic: a daily average of 12. Extrapolated to all UK residents we’re talking about 295 billion pieces of plastic being discarded in one year. Of all the plastic he collected, 93% was plastic packaging that could only be used once (single use). 67% of this was used to package food.

What happens to all the collected plastic waste? Webb calculated that a mere 4% of the plastic waste he produced is recycled. This turns out to be an entirely different number from the one the European Commission uses. The European Commission poses in the mentioned document that 40% of all plastic packaging was recycled in 2015. Ten times as much. Is that right? And how can we explain this huge deviation in percentages?

The European Commission based its research on numbers from PlasticsEurope and Eurostat. A more detailed explanation and recent numbers can be found in the Plastic Facts report by PlasticsEurope. In 2016, 16.7 million ton of plastic packaging waste was collected in the European Union. Of this collected waste 40.9% was recycled, 20.3% dumped and 38.8% burned (winning back energy). Of course, there are differences per country, but according to this report the UK belongs in the category of countries with 40 to 45% recycling.

The first deviation is that Webb looked at what British councils do and don’t collect for recycling. He gives an example. Plastic containers made of PET for tomatoes are 100% recyclable. The containers are collected by 76% of the councils in the UK, but only 32% of the containers are collected with recycling in mind. Because only 32% of the tomato containers are recycled, he uses this percentage. By then applying this approximation to all plastic waste items, Webb comes to the conclusion that only 10% of his plastic waste is collected for recycling.

A second deviation is that Webb focusses on recycling in the UK itself, whereas the European Union and the plastic industry also add the plastic waste that is exported. That last part is dubious, because it’s unclear what the receiving countries do with the plastic waste. Webb calculates that the United Kingdom exports 63% of its plastic waste. You can’t just blindly consider that 63% as recycling.

Webb comes to the conclusion that a mere 4% of his plastic waste is truly recycled. The European plastic industry goes by ten times that.

How a broader definition of the industry fools us all.

 

Photograph: Artwork by Webb with plastic waste collected by himself.

ViS Detachering
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“ViS Detachering” will be a new Silver Business Angel of the Plastic Soup Foundation

Team ViS Detachering

Amsterdam, November 1, 2018 – As of January 1, 2019 ViS Detachering from Reeuwijk will become a Silver Business Angel of the Plastic Soup Foundation. Gijs van Ierssel, founder of ViS Detachering, spoke about the decision to support our organization: “Sustainability is our top priority. We want to leave a better world for our children. For example, we promote driving electric automobiles, we do not serve water from plastic bottles, all our business gifts come from sustainable materials and we separate our waste. For us, becoming a Business Angel with the Plastic Soup Foundation is a logical next step. The polluted seas and oceans are impacting everyone, and the Plastic Soup Foundation tackles the problem at its sources. I also feel the urge to help as a fanatic water sports enthusiast and a fan of the sea.”

The Plastic Soup Foundation is extremely happy to have ViS onboard as a Business Angel in the new year and we are looking forward to a long and prosperous collaboration.
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From plastic soup to plastic poop

Amsterdam, 1 November 2018 – The knowledge that microplastics are present in every aspect of our lives has almost become common knowledge. Microplastics have been discovered everywhere, in water, air and soil and in fish and seafood, honey, salt and beer. With the widespread presence of microplastics, it is not surprising that they are also present in human faeces.

On the 23rd of October, Austrian researchers presented their findings during a congress in Vienna. They discovered, on average, twenty pieces of plastic per ten grams of faeces and they found nine different types of plastic in total, in the stool samples. The faeces of the eight participants, all from different countries, were sampled. All stool samples contained microplastics. The most frequently discovered plastics were polypropene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET); plastics commonly used in packaging.

Pieces of microplastics, with a size between 50 and 500 micrometre, were excreted in the human faeces, but it is still unclear if even smaller pieces remain in the human body. The smallest pieces microplastics can cross the wall of the gastrointestinal tract, enter the blood stream or tissues and cause an inflammatory reaction. How exactly the plastics entered the digestive tract of the subjects was not part of the research. However, all the subjects had eaten food that had been packed in plastic. Furthermore, drinks containing microplastics could also be a possible source.

An interview with Jeroen Dagevos of the Plastic Soup Foundation is available on the site of Talk Radio. Maria Westerbos, director van de Plastic Soup Foundation: “For sometime, it has been suspected that plastics could be present in human faeces. But main issue has to be, what the effect of microplastics is on the human body. It is therefore extremely urgent that, firstly, the research in the health effects continues and, secondly, as a precaution the use of plastics is reduced.”


Also read: How damaging is breathing in microplastics

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Cotton bread bag is becoming mainstream

Amsterdam, 31 October 2018 – The free plastic bag has been banned for a while now, but this is not the case for bakeries. Bread at the bakery or in the supermarket is generally still wrapped in plastic. A family consumes at least one loaf of bread per day. This means that approximately 365 plastic bags are used annually. The Netherlands counts almost 5 million multi-person households. A simple calculation shows that every year about 1.8 billion plastic bags are used. Just for bread. Just for multi-person households. Just in the Netherlands.

But there is an alternative. For a few years now, different sizes of the unprinted bread bag made of organic cotton, designed by Inge Barmentlo of Bag-again” have already been for sale online for a few euros. The bag can also be used for vegetables and fruits and is easy to close with a drawstring. Since two years, a bag marked with the text “Bread” has been available.

The concept of the bread bag has now been taken over by the Albert Heijn supermarkets, which have been selling a variant for a month. Selling the cotton bread bag in supermarkets is making it a mainstream product.

Inge Barmentlo: “I now get more requests from bakeries who want to start selling the bread bag, and I suspect that has to do with the AH-example. Although some pioneers have already been selling our bread bags for some time, I now have the idea that more companies are taking that step and also that the threshold is getting lower for consumers to take their own bread bag into a store or supermarket. I could never have dreamed this would happen when I started two years ago.”


Also read: India will abolish single-use plastics

Ethane-tsunami threatens Europe

Amsterdam, 29 October 2018 – Last month the International Energy Agency published the report ‘The Future of Petrochemicals’. One of the main conclusions is that in the next few years the number of petrochemical products, particularly plastics, will greatly increase due to the combination of the growing world economy, increasing world population and technological development.

According to the report, attempts by Governments to limit the use of one-time plastic packaging (the so-called single-use plastics), will be meaningless in comparison with the soaring consumption of plastic in developing countries. The global competition between plastic producers is caused as well as reinforced by the offer of cheap raw materials, particularly shale gas from the United States.

Ethane is a natural gas that is derived from shale gas. Thanks to cheap shale gas the United States has achieved a favourable competitive position again: plastic made of ethane now has a 40% share of the world production. Also in Europe ethane is the new raw material for plastic production, because it competes with the more expensive naphtha that is used in Europe. The IEA-report predicts that in 2030 the production of ethane will have increased by 70%. A quarter of the ethane that is produced is expected to be exported, mainly to Europe.

The gas is already being brought from the United States to Europe with ships owned by Ineos, a British chemical giant that invests in new ethane crackers on the continent. In Appalachia (USA) 35.8 billion dollars is being invested in shale gas infrastructure, including pipelines to terminals on the US East Coast. While the European Union is working hard to combat the plastic soup, the import of ethane will make it possible for European plastic producers to bring much more plastic on the market at even lower cost. It will be much harder to get recycling plastic off the ground, as part of the desired circular economy.

In conclusion, for the European Union the most effective way to fight the plastic soup and to promote recycling is to ban the import of ethane. Preferably in the very short term!


Also read: Big plastic manufacturer might open factory in Botlek area

Also read: Investment industry causes tsunami of plastic

European Parliament takes historic decision against plastic pollution

Strasbourg, 25 October 2018 – Yesterday in the European Parliament an overwhelming majority voted in favour of a considerable reduction of single-use plastics. More than 87 percent (571 Members of Parliament) brought out a positive vote. In a ground-breaking decision, manufacturers of plastic packaging, cigarettes and fishing nets will have to contribute to the cost of cleaning up their waste. So far, these costs were passed on to the society. From now on manufacturers will be held responsible for the pollution caused by their products.

The European Parliament went even further than the European Commission’s proposal earlier this year. EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans, among others, often spoke out in favour of the so-called Plastics Strategy and was awarded the Plastic Soup Foundation’s ‘Politieke Pluim’ (Political Compliment) last week.

Firstly, the measures contain a ban starting 2021 on the single-use plastics that are found to be the most common litter in the seas, such as plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton swabs. Parliament has expanded this list to include products of oxygen-degradable plastic and expanded polystyrene (such as fast-food boxes). In addition, Member States must draw up national plans to encourage multiple use or recycling. Other types of plastics that can be recycled, such as drinking bottles, must be collected and recycled, with a target of 90 percent in 2025. Reaching this target is only feasible if deposit systems are introduced or extended.

Reduction targets have also been established for cigarette butts because these also contain plastic. Waste from tobacco products should be reduced by 50 percent in 2025 and by 80 percent in 2030. Furthermore, Member States must ensure that annually at least 50 percent of lost fishing nets are collected. Fishing nets are responsible for 27 percent of the waste that is found on European beaches.

Jeroen Dagevos, head of programmes at the Plastic Soup Foundation, welcomes the European decision: “I’m pleased that the European Parliament has taken this decision. It is a good first step. Now, firm action is required to stop the growth of plastic production.”

Next week the environment ministers of the EU Member States will speak about the legislative text, after which this will go through European Parliament once more and will then finally be presented to the European government leaders for approval.

Read the European Parliament press release.

EU Parliamentarians join cleanup, day before the vote on Plastics Strategy

Members of Parliament clean Strasbourg

Over 30 European politicians and their staff joined the cleanup today in Strasbourg to show their support to the 17 million people worldwide participating in World Cleanup Day last September. “I was surprised to see so much waste so close to the European Parliament”, says Frédérique Ries – rapporteur from the ENVI committee. Currently she is guiding an ambitious agreement with regard to single-use plastics through the European Parliament. “This proves once again that the directive on the table is needed now, in order to stop the mismanagement of plastic and other waste in our environment, rivers and oceans.”

The cleanup in Strasbourg was co-hosted by Plastic Soup Foundation. “This voting is very important and it’s the first important step in Europe towards reducing plastic by law. We keep our fingers crossed for the outcome of the voting”, says Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation.

Waste is everywhere

In total, over 500 liters of waste was collected, in less than 30 minutes. “Unfortunately, waste is everywhere, and we are so used to it that we do not even see it. Participating in a cleanup is actually the most efficient way to overcome this trash blindness. Once you have, you will see waste everywhere, in your street, along the highway, on the beach,…”, says Anna Gril, from World Cleanup Day France.

Clean it or eat it

The impact of plastic pollution on public health is unknown at this time. ”As microplastics act as magnets to pesticides, detergents and other toxic materials that are spooled in our oceans, we can assume that this intake of microplastics will prove to have a negative impact on our wellbeing. What we do know is that microplastics are massively found in food and drinks we consume regularly: salt, fish and drinking water, hence even in our beer! ” says Thomas de Groote, coordinator of the Strasbourg Event.

Europe takes action

In the last months, the European Parliament has been even more ambitious than the Commission in increasing all its proposals with regards to the fight against single use plastics (SUP) for which Member States will have to impose a reduction in consumption. Frédérique Ries has extended the list of prohibited SUP from 2021 (cotton swabs, plates, cutlery, cutlery, straws and balloon sticks) to ultra-light plastic bags, to packaging and mulching in oxodegradable plastic, and to food and drink containers made of expanded polystyrene. In addition to these products, an ambitious reduction target of 50% by 2025 and 80% by 2030 also applies to cigarette filters. Strengthening also the EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) regime with the affirmation of the polluter-pays principle: the idea here is to shift the burden of financing, collecting and disposing of waste from public authorities to producers. The ENVI committee furthermore introduces quantified targets for the collection and recycling of fishing gear. In addition, it also requires the tobacco industry to contribute financially to the collection and processing of cigarette butts, which occupy second place on the sad podium of the most common SUP on the beaches.

The MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, Heidi Hautala, also joined the cleanup.

Europe is clearly responsible for only a small part of the plastic pollution of the oceans. On the other hand, it can, and must be a major part of the solution, take the lead at the global level, as it has done in the past in the fight against climate change. Prohibit, reduce, tax, but also replace, warn… Member States will have the choice of weapons. It is up to them to make good use of it, it is up to us to force ambition.

Plenary vote on October 24th

Citizens are expecting one thing from the European Parliament this Wednesday at noon: that we adopt the most ambitious legislation against single-use plastics. For the environment, for future generations, for the millions of mobilized Europeans who observe us and are ready to consume differently. It is essential to protect the marine environment and reduce the environmental damage bill from plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros until 2030.

Practical info:

The event took place on Tuesday October 23rd from 8-9am in front of the European Parliament Building in Strasbourg. It was hosted by World Cleanup Day and co-hosted by Frédérique Ries (ALDE), Margrete Auken (Greens/EFA), Simona Bonafè (S&D) & Angélique Delahaye (EPP) and joined by Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA and Vice-President of the European Parliament), Marco Affronte (Greens/EFA), Reinhardt Butikofer (Greens/EFA), Marc Demesmaeker (ECR), Michele Rivasi (Greens/EFA), Marc Tarabella (S&D), and Yannick Jadot (Greens/EFA).

Trump signs ‘Save Our Seas Act’

Amsterdam, 19 October 2018 –Earlier this month President Trump signed the Save Our Seas Act. This law makes it possible to include provisions on waste management in future trade agreements. Trump stated that he as president would do everything to prevent other countries using the ocean as a waste dump. Suggesting the involvement of Asian countries, he said at the signing: “The bad news is it floats toward us.”

This law, however, does not refer to America’s own contribution to the plastic soup.

The U.S. plastics industry supports the Save Our Seas Act, because it does not contain provisions to limit its own plastic production. On 28 September, CAL Dooley, President of the American Chemistry Council, stated in the U.S. Senate. that plastic in the ocean was especially the result of a failing waste infrastructure in developing countries. The fact that Western multinationals put plastic packaging (e.g. mini packaging consisting of multiple foil layers) on the market in these countries in the knowledge that they will not be collected nor recycled, remained unmentioned.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the only federal institution in the United States with a formal programme aimed at combating plastic pollution of the oceans. This programme was discontinued shortly after Trump came into office. The good news is that the Save Our Seas Act reactivates the NOAA programme. Over the next five years, the programme receives 10 million $ per year.


Also read: India will abolish single use plastics.

Also read: Investment industry causes tsunami of plastic .