Plastic Disclosure Project asks companies to track plastics use, calls for 'management and governance' of the material

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September 22, 2010

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has initiated the Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP) as a means to track and report the amount of plastic used inside businesses, with an end goal of adopting new designs and reducing waste. Launched under his Clinton Global Initiative, and in conjunction with Project Kaisei, ASrIA (The Assn. for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia), and HKUST (Hong Kong University of Science & Technology), the PDP will include an annual survey of companies regarding their use of plastic that aims to "help improve environmental, waste, and health impacts" from the material.

The group likens the PDP to the Clinton Global Initiative's Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and water initiatives, saying the goal of the PDP is to "contribute to transparency in reporting the corporate use of plastic within operations and supply chains, as well as plastics management and governance."

Doug Woodring, cofounder and director of PDP partner Project Kaisei, said in a release, "Plastic and other waste in the ocean has caused a large impact on the environment and ecosystem, much of which is only just becoming understood. It can kill marine life, may be entering our food chain, and can have a negative effect on people's health and safety." Woodring went on to say that he believes global consumption of plastic has outstripped the planet's waste-management infrastructure, adding that some estimates place the percentage of one-time land-based plastic and other waste in the ocean at more than 70%.

PDP's supporters say it will be an investor-led initiative requesting corporations to assess and disclose their production, use, and handling of plastics and plastic wastes. The project partners hope to hold the inaugural survey in first half 2011. Established in 2005 by President Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) brings together global leaders to "devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges."

In response to the announcement, the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Arlington, VA), issued a statement, saying, "America's plastics makers support efforts to increase the efficient use of plastics and reduce waste." The ACC added that new materials and technologies allow for products that reduce energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste. The ACC also stated that studies show that the use of plastics rather than other materials in packaging, auto parts, electronics, and building and construction reduces overall energy use by 57%, and generates 61% fewer greenhouse gas emissions.—[email protected]

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