The Dow Chemical Co. has committed to spend $2.8 million over the next two years toward solutions that address global marine debris and litter. 

The company made the announcement on Sept. 16 at the inaugural Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state. 

“Dow is committed to finding viable science-based solutions to keep our oceans clean,” says Jim Fitterling, Dow’s president and chief operating officer. “These efforts are aligned to our 2025 sustainability goals and our efforts to advance a circular economy by delivering solutions to close resource loops and increase the rate of recycling and reuse of plastics.”

Dow’s $2.8 million commitment will focus on two areas. Approximately half of the support will go toward sponsorship of collaborative projects, such as the Ocean Conservancy’s research and waste management pilot programs, and to support educational programs that promote recycling and prevent littering.

The other half will support ongoing research, such as that being done by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation involving the development of new technologies to create a more circular economy, while advancing opportunities to turn waste into a valuable end-state. 

“Plastics offer many advancements that improve our everyday life – from packaging that helps reduce global food waste to lifesaving solutions in the medical field,” says Diego Donoso, business president of Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “Yet not all plastics waste ends up where it should, and that is why we are working with the private sector, industry trade associations, academia and NGOs to develop targeted global actions that will mitigate or even stop the amount of marine debris polluting our ocean.”

Dow is already a member of a global coalition led by the Ocean Conservancy that includes industry leaders, ocean advocates, analytical advisors, donors and government agencies committed to identifying the causes and developing solutions to prevent waste from entering the seas. The coalition has issued a report that identifies the major pathways of plastic leakage into the ocean and outlines solutions for countries to properly concentrate and treat the plastic waste before it makes its way into the ocean. 

The Dow Chemical Co.
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