A recent report about the staggering scale and extent of plastic pollution in the ocean stated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the ocean. An estimated 8 million tons of plastic ends up in waterways and the ocean every year. And while plastic use is expected to continue to double in the next 20 years and quadruple in the next 50 years, currently only 5% is effectively recycled. According to the report, after a short first-use cycle, 95% of plastic packaging material value, or $80–120 billion annually, is lost to the economy. The reuse and re-thinking of plastic products presents a win-win opportunity for corporate leaders and innovative businesses to recover lost materials and resources that will help their bottom line while also reducing the negative impact on the ocean. This session will take an in-depth look at industry first movers to examine how industry and entrepreneurs can create new markets and incentives for the recovery of materials and resources, re-evaluate product lifecycles, incentivize extended producer responsibility programs, explore alternative sourcing of materials and waste to energy technologies, and prevent plastic litter from entering the marine environment.
Dawn M Martin | Vice Chair and Treasurer, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
Nicholas Mallos | Director, Trash Free Seas Program, Ocean Conservancy
Carla Friedrich | Associate Programme Officer, UNEP Regional Office of North America
Keith Christman │Managing Director for Plastic Markets, American Chemistry Council
Lynn Dyer | President, Foodservice Packaging Institute
Erin Simon | Manager, Packaging and Material Science, World Wildlife Fund – U.S.