Ocean Plastics Media Scan March & April 2020
This media scan is intended to share current news and information on USAID partner and grantee activities related to ocean plastics. Items included are not endorsed by and do not represent the views of USAID or the U.S. Government.
Recycling Today: Circulate Capital Makes Inaugural Investments in Plastic Recyclers in India, Indonesia
Circulate Capital, an investment management firm focused on ocean plastics prevention, announced its inaugural investments in two plastic recycling companies in India and Indonesia for a total investment of $6 million. Lucro Plastecycle Private Ltd. in India specializes in flexible plastics that are typically difficult to manage and recycle. Female-led Tridi Oasis Group in Indonesia specializes in PET bottle recycling for later use in packaging and textiles. The Tridi Oasis Group investment is 50% guaranteed by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation in collaboration with USAID.
Sri Lanka Sunday Times: Bringing Solutions to the Waste Issue
The Waste Less Arugam Bay (WLAB) team uses their USAID MWRP grant award to transform waste into useful products with the goal of making Arugam Bay plastic bottle free. “We all tend to never see the dimension of the waste problem because landfills are usually tucked away from the public eye. So what we do is we collect waste, try to add value through recycling where we can, and offer and promote alternatives.”
Obama Foundation : Stories of Hope: Obama Leader, Swietenia Puspa Lestari, promotes sustainability during the pandemic
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Divers Clean Action (a USAID MWRP grantee) began researching the increases in plastic waste and developing strategies to combat it. Some of the organization’s strategies include providing reusable, easily disinfected mobile phone cases, as well as bulk hand soap to simultaneously encourage hand washing and reduce bottle waste.
USAID MWRP Grantees Celebrate Earth Day 2020
Despite challenges related to COVID-19, USAID MWRP grantees throughout Southeast Asia marked Earth Day through virtual events celebrating the marine environment and strategies to better protect it from plastic waste. A sample of activities is below:
- Indonesia – Bintari: Virtual discussion on infectious waste management for the COVID-19 waste stream. Discussion recording available in Bahasa Indonesia here.
- Philippines – PRRCFI: “Camps and Cleanups” watch party on Facebook Live featuring videos from PRRCFI’s marine camps, island tours, SWEEP cleanups and Wala Usik sari-sari stores. You can see PRRCFI’s videos here.
- Sri Lanka – SLCDF: Plastic Zero Forum art competition for hand drawn art and graphic design with the theme “How to Save the Earth from Plastic and Polythene Products.” You can view submissions on their Facebook page here.
- Vietnam – MCD: Spread Blue Actions- Reduce Plastic Waste: Competition for multimedia platforms (photos, videos, slide shows) that best showcase initiatives to reduce solid waste. You can view and vote for submissions on their Facebook page here.
World Bank Blogs: Waste workers are protecting our communities during COVID-19
Only 4 million of the 19 – 24 million people in the waste management and recycling sector are formally employed. As front-line workers providing an essential service during the current coronavirus pandemic, informal waste workers –who often do not have access to occupational safety gear– are facing greater risk to their health and livelihoods as countries lock down. Some waste collector organizations are working to provide equipment and safety guidelines, but workers continue to find themselves in fragile positions as they face work bans and recycling markets fluctuate.
Forbes: COVID-19 Underscores the need to invest in local waste management and recycling to combat ocean plastic
The effects of COVID-19 are stressing waste management systems around the globe, particularly in regions where these systems were already stretched thin. With demand for single-use plastics increasing daily during this crisis for their convenience and usefulness, COVID-19 serves as a powerful reminder that solutions to ocean plastic pollution must focus on transforming plastic waste into a valued commodity and boost the continued emergence of a circular economy.
Informal waste collectors are facing specific risks during this pandemic, from handling contaminated materials to losing essential daily earnings when governments order work stoppages. Waste collector advocacy organizations around the world are acting to provide much needed assistance, such as safety equipment and information sharing with households on how to protect waste workers. WIEGO provides a country-level list of actions that waste collector organizations are taking.
On April 16th, UL announced that HP received content validation for five of their resins, which contain between 5-99 percent recycled content. This announcement makes HP the first company to achieve validation for the UL Environmental Claim Validation Procedure for Recycled Content Standard. The standard measures the amount of recycled content in products and assesses the social and economic impacts of collecting pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled materials, including criteria for ocean-bound and ocean-sourced plastics.
Earth Challenge 2020: Launched by the Earth Day Network, the U.S. Department of State, and the Wilson Center, Earth Challenge 2020 seeks to be the world’s largest ever coordinated citizen science campaign. The campaign uses a mobile application to collect observations from around the world on local air quality and plastic pollution. In June 2020, participants will be able to collect more data on insect populations and other critical environmental indicators. These data will provide a platform for environmental insights to promote policy change in these and other areas.