NOVA to invest in project to keep plastic out of oceans

28 August 2018 19:16 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--NOVA Chemical plans to invest nearly $2m in the next three years in a programme targeting emerging economies that will prevent plastic from reaching the oceans, the Canadian polyolefins producer said on Tuesday.

NOVA sister company Borealis created the programme, called Project STOP, in 2017 with SYSTEMIQ, a group set up in 2016 to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The awareness of marine plastic-waste has grown with the publication of a series of graphic images along with multiple articles on the effects of plastics pollution on marine wildlife by National Geographic magazine, at least one copy of which appeared at the American Chemistry Council (ACC) annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado state in early June.

The ACC itself has set goals to recover and recycle all plastic packaging by 2040.

Most plastic debris entering the oceans come from Asia, according to the ACC, which cited statistics from an article in Science magazine.

The graphic below from the ACC lists the major sources that were identified by the Science article.

NOVA noted that economic growth and plastic consumption have outpaced the expansion of waste management systems in southeast Asia.

With that in mind, Project STOP has chosen Indonesia as the primary focus, and NOVA's investment will support the first city partnership in Muncar, a coastal fishing community in Banyuwangi regency, East Java province.

NOVA said people in Muncar dump their trash in the environment because the community has minimal waste services.

As a whole, Project STOP aims to eliminate waste entering the environment by ensuring that waste-collection services are available to all households and businesses, NOVA said. The project wants to increase the amount of plastic that's recycled. And it wants these initiatives to benefit locals by creating new jobs in waste management and by reducing the damage that pollution causes to public health, tourism and fisheries.

In a statement, SYSTEMIQ managing partner Martin Stuchtey said, “There is a great need to accelerate circular waste management solutions in Asia, and we are very excited to design and deliver this new city partnership model, working collaboratively with our global corporate partners and our government partners in Indonesia."

Borealis CEO Alfred Stern said, “Project STOP represents an important step towards creating a plastics circular economy."

John Thayer, senior vice president, polyethylene business, NOVA, said, “We understand the growing concern about marine plastic pollution and agree we must take meaningful action to address this challenge."

Project STOP will join a growing number of projects that intend to reduce plastic waste.

Companies such as Starbucks pledging to phase out plastic straws.

The EU has been making a big push to encourage recycling and the circular economy.

Additional reporting by Joseph Chang

By Al Greenwood