Nestle to Join Project Aimed at Preventing Marine Litter
Nestle has joined other international business and government organisations to become the latest strategic partner of Project STOP (Stop Ocean Plastics), an initiative that aims to prevent plastic pollution in South East Asia.
The initiative recognises that while plastic has made a very valuable contribution to helping people by prolonging the shelf life of their food, more must be done to create a plastics circular economy where plastics are reused and repurposed, and don’t end up on our beaches or in our oceans.
Environmental innovations company Borealis founded the initiative in 2017, along with SYSTEMIQ, a firm who advises on how materials, land, and energy can be better used. The CEO of Borealis said that it welcomes Nestle as a new strategic partner and looks forward to working with new partners to scale up the initiative. He added that a lack of sustainable waste management systems has contributed to the marine litter problem, especially plastic waste, and that’s why the STOP project works to promote a circular economy.
Nestle are the first food and drinks company to join the project, and their global head of operations said that it is part of their vision to be waste free, and to make 100% of their packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
Why project STOP?
Estimates say that there are around 150 million tonnes of plastics in our oceans, and a further 8 million tonnes ends up in our oceans each year. Half of this waste comes from just 5 places in Asia; China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. As their economies have grown, so has their consumption of materials, particularly plastics. Unfortunately, the waste management infrastructure in these countries has not kept pace with the economic growth.
Only around half of solid waste produced in Indonesia’s towns and cities is collected, and the rest is burned or dumped. The extent of the waste has affected the fishing industry, tourism, and public health. The Indonesian government announced its commitment to reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean by 70% by 2025 and put together a Marine Debris Action Plan in response. The plan includes measures to introduce better waste management systems and work towards a circular economy, and Project Stop will help them meet their action plan goals.
The first place where Project STOP started working to improve infrastructure, engage communities, and recover materials was the fishing port of Muncar in East Java. Muncar had no adequate waste management system in place and 90% of households had no access to waste collection services. Waste was dumped in rivers, burned, dumped on land or buried.
Project STOP has committed to starting at least two more partnerships with cities in Indonesia to tackle their plastic waste problem. The overall aim is to prevent more than 10,000 tonnes of plastic from entering the ocean over the next five years. It’s also hoped that jobs will be created and that other towns and cities will adopt similar measures.