The Dow Chemical Company has announced that it has committed $2.8 million over the next two years to drive solutions that address global marine debris and litter. The company made the announcement on Friday, September 16th, at the inaugural Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Dow is committed to finding viable science-based solutions to keep our oceans clean,” said Jim Fitterling, Dow’s president and chief operating officer. “These efforts are aligned to our 2025 Sustainability Goals and our efforts to advance a circular economy by delivering solutions to close resource loops and increase the rate of recycling and reuse of plastics.”
Dow’s $2.8 million commitment will be focused on two areas. Roughly half of the support will go toward sponsorship of collaborative projects such as the Ocean Conservancy’s research and waste management pilot programs and to support educational programs to promote recycling and prevent littering.
The other half will support ongoing research such as that being done by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation involving the development of new technologies to create a more circular economy while advancing opportunities to turn waste into a valuable end-state. This includes work to create a “new plastics economy” by increasing the recyclability of flexible packaging and driving the development of chemical recycling technologies to convert non-recycled plastics into feedstocks that can be used to make new materials.
“Plastics offer many advancements that improve our everyday life - from packaging that helps reduce global food waste to life-saving innovations in the medical field,” said Diego Donoso, business president of Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “Yet not all plastics waste ends up where it should and that is why we are working with the private sector, industry trade associations, academia and NGOs to develop targeted global actions that will mitigate or even stop the amount of marine debris polluting our ocean.”
Dow is already a member of a global coalition led by the Ocean Conservancy that includes industry leaders, ocean advocates, analytical advisors, donors and government agencies committed to identifying the causes and developing solutions to prevent waste from entering the seas. This coalition has issued a report identifying the major pathways of plastic leakage into the ocean and identified solutions for these countries to properly concentrate and treat the plastic waste before it makes its way into the ocean.
Dow also engages in coastal clean-up initiatives through employee engagement, financial support, and donations such as the International Coastal Clean Up sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy, and supports The Declaration of the Global Plastics Association for Solutions on Marine Debris, which has signatures from over 60 associations spanning 34 countries.