Technological watch

Nova spending $2 million to reduce plastic ocean debris

Materials maker Nova Chemicals will invest almost $2 million during the next three years to prevent plastic debris from reaching the ocean.

The investment from Calgary, Alberta-based Nova — one of North America's largest polyethylene resin makers — supports Project Stop, a new global initiative to reduce marine plastic pollution, especially in countries with high leakage of plastics into our oceans.

In an Aug. 28 news release, Nova officials said that Southeast Asia has been identified as a major source of marine plastic debris, as economic development and plastics consumption have outpaced the expansion of waste management in the region. Project Stop has chosen Indonesia as a primary focus region.

"We understand the growing concern about marine plastic pollution and agree we must take meaningful action to address this challenge," Nova PE Senior Vice President John Thayer said in the release. The firm's investment "demonstrates our commitment to shaping a world that is even better tomorrow than it is today," he added.

"Plastics are too valuable to be thrown away or left as litter. We're working with Project Stop to find high-impact solutions to prevent plastic pollution in critical locations around the world."

Nova's investment will support the first city partnership in Muncar, an Indonesian coastal fishing community. With minimal waste services in place, many citizens are forced to dump their waste directly into the environment, officials said.

Project Stop Project Stop workers meet with local residents in Muncar, Indonesia, to discuss how to reduce waste in their community. Muncar was chosen as the first Stop location because of the seriousness of the challenge, coupled with strong leadership and environmental commitment at national, regency and local levels, they added.

Project Stop was co-created in 2017 by materials firm Borealis — a sister company of Nova's — and SYSTEMIQ, a sustainable land use and energy firm. Alfred Stern, CEO of Vienna-based Borealis, said in the release that Project Stop "represents an important step towards creating a plastics circular economy."

"The collaboration of Borealis, [sister firm] Borouge and Nova highlights our commitment to proactively help solve the issue of ocean plastic," he added.

Project Stop's three objectives are:

• Zero leakage of waste into the environment by ensuring waste collection services are available to all households and businesses, through increasing pick-up points, sorting facilities and staff.

• Increased recycling of plastics by strengthening the supply chain from waste collection to waste management companies.

• Benefits for the local community by creating new jobs in the waste management system and reducing the impacts of mismanaged waste on public health, tourism and fisheries.

Martin Stuchtey, founder and managing partner of London-based SYSTEMIQ, said in the release that "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."

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Publication date: 29/08/2018

Plastics News

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2019-05-09