REDUCING SOUTHEAST ASIA'S PLASTIC FOOTPRINT
Regional Issues and Opportunities Unwrapped
An estimated 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean each year – a large number, but dwarfed by the roughly 4.9 billion tons of plastic waste dumped on land and sea since 1950. The cause: 50 years of disposable plastic products and packaging, with globally inadequate investment in low-waste alternatives and recycling systems. Consumers do not pay – and few companies voluntarily shoulder the full cost of preventing or cleaning up the waste produced by their products. A key barrier to both investment and the rapid adoption of better solutions and policies remains sheer cost. Today, the world faces immense challenges with closing “cleaner” borders, and the lack of financial incentives to drive significant change.
Douglas Woodring is the founder and managing director of Ocean Recovery Alliance, a non-profit organization which is focused on bringing together innovative solutions, technology, collaborations and policy to create positive improvements for the health of the ocean. Two of its global programs were launched at the Clinton Global Initiative, and in 2018 he was awarded the Prince’s Prize for Innovative Philanthropy in Monaco. He founded the Plasticity Forum on innovations for plastic in its second life, is a UN Climate Hero, a Google Earth Hero, and has worked with both UN Environment and the World Bank on plastic pollution issues. In 2020 he co-founded the Commitments Accelerator for Plastic Pollution (CAPP), which is a global incubator for plastic waste reduction programs.