It’s estimated a full garbage truck worth of plastic enters the ocean every minute of every day. If nothing changes, we’re projected to see that jump to two garbage trucks per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050. While fishing gear and nets are a large contributor, 80% of this pollution flows in from land-based sources and by way of smaller waterways, such as rivers.
In a world where recycling and waste collection is on the decline even for “highly recyclable” materials, this trend is highly especially prevalent in regions where a lack of economic and structural resources make it difficult for local systems to keep up with waste collection. Not only does this degrade the area for surrounding communities, but contributes to a global problem.
At TerraCycle, we are committed to eliminating waste by working around economic limitations in locations and markets around the world (working with governments, businesses, and private sector to catalyse change), and are proud to introduce the TerraCycle Global Foundation.
Created in 2019 as a public charity with financial support from The PepsiCo Foundation, the TerraCycle Global Foundation’s core purpose is to reduce the volume of marine debris and plastic waste found in the world’s waterways for both environmental protection and economic development in communities everywhere.
The TerraCycle Thai Foundation was established as a locally registered independent nonprofit entity to help address the issue of ocean plastic pollution in Thailand, with a focus on preventing debris from entering oceans.
With a community-centered approach, the Thai Foundation is cleaning up waterways and implementing recycling and end-market solutions for marine waste, and was honoured to be a part of the United Nations World Oceans Day Innovation for Sustainable Ocean event hosted by the government’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) today in Bangkok!
The Foundation installed a special river plastic capture trap in the waterway of Khodpor public park in Rayong through collaboration with the DMCR. Designed to intercept plastic debris before it enters the ocean, this is the second of two TerraCycle Thai Foundation collection devices installed in Thailand and mobilises local workers to operate and manage them.
In addition to capturing and collecting marine debris before it reaches and pollutes the ocean, the Foundation will recycle not only the marine waste (considered non-recyclable due to its degradation and exposure to UV light) collected through its own devices and efforts, but also the waste collected by all the other participating organizations in the World Oceans Day celebration.
The work doesn’t stop there. Though the establishment of relationships with regional waste management companies, as well as TerraCycle’s own unique network of processing partners, the Foundation will provide environmentally friendly, efficient, and cost-effective solutions for various applications—from packaging for major global brands to applications such as road or construction materials.
Plastic in and of itself isn’t the cause of ocean pollution, but the lack of investment in systems that capture it for recycling and prevent it from becoming waste. Collaboration and cooperation across the public (governments) and private (businesses, nonprofits, and NGOs) sectors can combat plastic pollution by aligning interests to drive change that stays.
Stay tuned! In addition to the work underway in Thailand, the TerraCycle Global Foundation has plans to expand to local communities in central and Southeast Asia, working with local waste management systems to support, assist, and build new and exciting ways to eliminate plastic waste.
What do you think is the most important way to stop ocean pollution? Tell us in the comments!