From 1 to 2 September, an international ministerial conference was held to prepare a global agreement against marine litter and the pollution of the environment with plastic waste. The German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) and PlasticsEurope Deutschland (PED), the association of plastics producers, support the global effort.

Ingemar Bühler, General Manager at PlasticsEurope Deutschland, the plastics producers' associationThe conference was also convened at the initiative of the German Environment Minister to push for a global agreement in the run-up to the UN Environment Assembly in spring 2022. Ingemar Bühler (photo), CEO of PED, sees great opportunities in this: "Plastic waste has no place in the environment. It must be collected and recycled. A global agreement against marine litter can make a valuable contribution to this. In this way, we not only protect the oceans, but also the climate". When it comes to the goal of combating marine litter, however, Bühler points out: "The agreement should not focus on plastics, but on consumer goods in general that are carelessly disposed of in the environment."
Measures against marine litter

In March 2011, plastics associations launched solutions against marine litter with a global declaration. Currently, around 395 projects are underway or completed worldwide, including better waste management, beach clean-ups and education of local people. Innovative solutions for recycling and reuse of plastics play an important role in waste management. Therefore, Bühler points out: "The promotion of innovative technologies for the circular economy should be a central concern in a global agreement. In the end, the aim must be to use waste to manufacture new products and thus conserve resources".

Closing of ranks between the industries

The German chemical industry also sees a great opportunity in the recycling of plastics: "Plastics are far too good to end up as waste in the environment. If they are recycled, this reduces the use of fossil raw materials and protects the climate. Here we have to rethink in parts: that is why we are massively pushing complementary technologies such as chemical recycling," adds Wolfgang Große Entrup, Managing Director of the VCI.
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