Published 3 years ago.
About a 4 minute read.
The private sector must collaborate with the public sector to clean up plastic pollution in our waterways. Entities such as the TerraCycle Global Foundation have an opportunity to increase conservation and create value for all stakeholders in the work towards healthier oceans.
Globally, public recycling systems exist but are on the decline. And the
COVID-19 pandemic has led to more and more types of products and
that are considered non-recyclable. Even “highly
items are falling through the cracks; and as the world population grows, so does
the glut of material, at best captured by municipal waste management and burned
Everything else ends up littered, some of which is leaked into the ocean.
Despite all efforts, a full garbage truck worth of
the ocean every minute of every day, and 80 percent of this pollution flows in
by way of smaller waterways, such as rivers. This trend is especially prevalent
in regions with a lack of economic and structural
to keep up.
Where governments and municipalities might be slower to act, the private sector
(businesses, nonprofits and NGOs) is in a position to have the most impact in
the short and long term, adapting quickly to maintain a healthy “blue
that mobilizes all stakeholders, including communities on the ground.
The TerraCycle Global Foundation was
created in 2018 as a public charity with financial support from the PepsiCo
Foundation, PepsiCo’s philanthropic arm. Its core purpose is to reduce marine
debris and plastic waste found in the world’s waterways, while also engaging and
empowering local constituents and groups.
This seed funding from the PepsiCo Foundation enabled the creation of the
TerraCycle Thai Foundation — a locally registered independent nonprofit
entity addressing the issue of marine plastic pollution in Thailand. Earlier
this month, it was honored to be a part of the United Nations World Oceans
Day event hosted by the Thai government’s
Department of Marine and Coastal Resources in Bangkok.
Aptly, the theme of this year’s World Oceans
"Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” Innovation often brings to mind
technology, machinery, or physical tools created or upgraded to solve a problem.
However, innovation includes systems and new processes that drive action and
create value across a variety of sectors, resulting in a more sustainable use of
As it stands, the combined assets of the ocean economy amount to an annual gross
product of $2.5 trillion, while the damages from human
cost us $428 billion annually by 2050. Not only do these degrade residence and
business (such as
for communities everywhere, they contribute to a global problem of ocean
pollution and waste.
By providing the proper marine waste removal equipment and connecting it to a
comprehensive and effective sorting and recycling system, Thailand residents
will now be able to reduce plastic waste in the ocean, with the support of their
local municipalities. The Foundation will also provide efficient and
cost-effective uses for the collected material — including primary packaging
or applications such as
Image credit: TerraCycle
The Foundation aims to install uniquely designed river-plastic capture traps and
engage the densely populated, low-income canal communities in those regions in
which we operate with an outreach strategy that focuses on changing the
behaviors that are major contributors to the large amounts of floating waste.
Thanks to the funding from The PepsiCo Foundation, we will be able to expand
efforts in Thailand and begin moving into other Southeast Asian markets. We are
taking steps to launch next in India, where the focus will be mobilizing a
network of informal waste
to improve collection rates by providing fair wages, tools, supplies, and health
and safety training.
The private sector can and must focus on cleaning up plastic pollution in our
water by driving collaborative initiatives with the public sector (governments).
Continuing to externalize the negatives of business will leave us with dead
rivers and oceans. Entities such as the TerraCycle Global Foundation have an
opportunity to increase conservation activities and create value for all
stakeholders in the work towards a healthier ocean.
To learn more and support the mission, please visit
Published Jun 29, 2020 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST
Tom Szaky is the founder and CEO of TerraCycle, the company recycling the non-recyclable; and Loop, the world’s first shopping system delivering products in reusable packaging.