Businesses, including Veolia, on the front line in fighting waste

Posted on 14 April 2020.

Launched in early 2019 with Veolia as one of its founding members, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste brings together more than 40 leading global companies. Together, they have pledged $1.5 billion to fight plastic waste.

No single country, company or community can solve this problem alone.

The situation is alarming. If the production of plastic waste continues at the current rate, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation! A frightening prospect taken up by the World Economic Forum which resulted in a number of stakeholders taking action. Businesses are on the front line.

Thus, at the beginning of 2019, around thirty companies involved in the plastic production, use or recovery chain decided to strike hard. They created the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) with an announced $1.5 billion in funding over five years, to combat plastic waste pollution.

The Alliance's founding members include major consumer goods manufacturers such as Henkel and Procter & Gamble, oil companies such as ExxonMobil and Shell, petrochemical companies such as Dow, and waste recovery specialists such as Veolia. Since its creation, a dozen companies have joined the ranks of AEPW.


Drastically reducing the world's plastic waste

The Alliance’s ambition? To promote the emergence, development and deployment of new solutions to reduce plastic in the environment on the one hand, and to encourage recovery and recycling initiatives on the other. In short, to innovate, deploy and educate.

Among the major projects sponsored by the AEPW, “Renew Ganga” makes a great impression. To drastically reduce the plastic waste that pollutes the Ganges in India, the project aims to collect 100,000 metric tons of materials in 2019 and nearly 1 million metric tons in 2020! The initiative is accompanied by numerous campaigns in schools and universities to raise awareness among young pupils and students.

Another noteworthy project is the invisible barcode introduced by Tomra, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Berry Global. These four members of the Alliance have created a barcode that can only be detected by cameras, enabling robots in sorting plants to more accurately identify the plastic material used and thus better recycle it.

Building alliances around the world

But the real challenge for the Alliance is to mobilize stakeholders all around the world. By coming together, large corporations hope to bring their full weight to bear to make the voice of the circular economy heard at all levels.
From international bodies to local decision-makers, AEPW intends to raise awareness among public actors in order to create real partnerships, the only way to bring the world economy into a circular, more virtuous and more respectful approach to the oceans.   "Tackling plastic waste in the environment and developing a circular economy requires the participation of all stakeholders in the value chain and the long-term commitment of companies, governments and communities. No one country, company or community can solve this problem alone," explains Antoine Frérot, Veolia Chairman and CEO and co-founder of the Alliance.

CREDITS: Main Picture © Veolia-Nicolas Vercellino