End Waste Entering the Ocean

  • What happens on land affects our oceans, from plastic wrappers and bottles to nutrients stemming from agricultural fertilizers. 
  • The amount of plastic in the ocean is growing faster than our ability to solve the problem – and expected to quadruple by 2040 – threatening food safety, human health and tourism. 
  • On top of plastic, run-offs from the land-based livestock industry is another key pollution source, harming marine environments and feeding algal blooms. 

Key facts

What are the Key Actions to Deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals? 

  • End plastic waste entering the ocean: Through universal access to effective waste management systems, incentives for better-designed materials and business models facilitating a plastic circular economy. 
  • End excessive nutrients entering the ocean: Build innovative partnerships that promote new nutrient-recycling models and unify the food value chain.
  • Funding is a key enabler: Even the largest of private sector funds won’t bridge the waste management funding gap of hundreds of billions. Blue bonds could be an asset class used for waste management.

What is the Action Platform doing this year? 

  • Developing global standards for plastic transparency to monitor and track corporate plastic footprints. 
  • Mobilizing the private sector to participate in the Global Indsutry Alliance of the GloLitter project, which seeks to help the shipping and fisheries sectors move to a low-plastics future. 


Ocean Stewardship 2030 (2020) Chapter 4

Breaking the Plastic Wave (2020) Systemiq and Pew Charitable Trusts 

  1. Ostle et al., “The Rise in Ocean Plastics Evidenced From a 60-Year Time Series,” Nature Communications 10 (2019), http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09506-1.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The new plastics economy global commitment: 2019 progress report (2019) 

European Commission, Circular economy action plan: for a cleaner and more competitive Europe (2020) https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/communities/en/community/city-science-initiative/document/circular-economy-action-plan-cleaner-and-more-competitive

Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “Lodestar: A Case Study for Plastics Recycling” (2019), https://recyclingtechnologies.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/RT-Lodestar-A-casestudy-for-plastic-recycling-2018-Report.pdf

World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and McKinsey & Co., “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics” (2016), https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/the-newplastics-economy-rethinking-the-future-of-plastics

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