The Week in Plastic July 20-26

Updated: Aug 9, 2020

Welcome to the first edition of The Plastic Roundup. Each week, we will be posting a brief summary of recent news, opinion, and science surrounding plastic pollution.

The big news of the week was the Pew Charitable Trust's new report, Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution". Pew's modelling suggests that if we continue on our current trajectory, plastic waste entering the ocean will triple by 2040. To fight the crisis, the report recommends sweeping changes to global manufacturing and supply chains, including a reduction in plastic production. Predictably, plastic manufacturers responded with a statement from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) supporting improved waste management but arguing against reducing plastic production. The Ellen MacArthur foundation published a supportive response, connecting the Pew report's recommendations to the concept of a "circular economy".

Pew's release of its report to the public was accompanied by publication of the supporting studies in the world-leading scientific journal Science.

Photo credit: Hawaiian Wildlife Fund

Meanwhile, the EPA declared two remote Hawaiian atolls to be contaminated with waste. These beaches have been accumulating plastic due to their position in ocean currents for years, with one being referred to by locals as "Plastic Beach". Maxx Phillips, the Hawaii director for the Center for Biological Diversity, publicly stated that the fossil fuel industry should be held accountable.


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