The Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP) is much like that of carbon and water reporting, but with a focus on plastic. The methodology was launched in 2010 at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) by Ocean Recovery Alliance, and has since been endorsed by both UN Environment (UNEP) and the World Bank for different programs. It is created for companies, institutions, municipalities, or events, as almost all operations use plastic in some way, shape or form.
It is important to remember that there is no "right or wrong" number when you calculate your plastic baseline, but the objective is to calculate it in the first place, as not possible to manage materials and resources well if you don't measure them. Also, now with the momentum to build circular systems, it is hard to know what to circulate if you do not understand the baseline metrics of what you are working with, what you recover, use as recycled content, bio materials, and how you manage your waste streams.
The PDP's main sectors are for manufacturing, services (like hotels, airports, universities, hospitals, etc), and municipalities, but we also have programs for sports or entertainment events, and also even for National Parks. Once you know your footprint baseline numbers, it is also tjhen possible to create offset programs with our certified recovery of materials in different locations where we have plastic recovery collaborations.
Included is an example of Starboard Company's PDP report from October 2017, which also led them to create the world's first Plastic Offset Program (POP) for themselves, based on the PDP, which now sets a standard for other companies to replicate.
The PDP's founding group, Ocean Recovery Alliance, Helps Watson Water to Move to 100% Recycled PET Bottles
We are pleased to have been part of the decision and thought process for Watsons Water to move to 100% recycled material (rPET) for its bottles in Hong Kong. They are one of the first bottlers in Asia to move to 100% rPET, and their leadership has helped to avoide the production of between 50m and 100 million virgin bottles a year, as its demand for rPET diverts this much valuable material from the waste stream. Can others follow suit?
Global Report on Valuing Plastic
The Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP), Trucost and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the world-first report at the U.N. Environmental Assembly in Nairobi in June 2014, with talks on the report given at both Sustainable Brands '14 in San Diego, and the Plasticity Forum in New York. The report identifies some of the risks and opportunities to brands associated with plastic use. It articulates the business case for measuring, managing and disclosing plastic use, underlined by the new research which identifies $75 billion of annual natural capital costs of plastic use by the consumer goods sector. The research assesses the plastic use and disclosure of the 100 largest companies in the consumer goods industry. You can download the full report here.
One of our ongoing projects is the Plastic Disclosure Project, similar to that of carbon and water reporting. If you measure it, it is easier to manage, and this means a better use of resources, with waste reduction as a result. More information on the PDP can also be found below.
Video Introduction of the Plastic Disclosure Project:
The World Bank estimates that the production of municiple solid waste could double by 2025. Even if this is only partially correct, the environmental impacts could be significant, as most of the countries where populations and consumption are growing, do not have nearly enough capacity to handle this flow of trash - even today. This lack of capacity to handle our waste generation is what impacts our waters, health, city operations, tourism, and eventually the ocean. However, if waste were viewed as a resource, we would be able to create tens of thousands of new jobs, create new revenue streams, and eleviate much of the environmental impact that waste has on our communities today.
The Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP) was launched at the Clinton Global Initiative, and is an international program which is free to use, enabling stakeholders in governments, companies and institutions to focus on the most difficult of the waste streams - plastic. With measurement and knowledge of corporate material use and waste generation, including the after-life role that these materials represent, we will be able to greatly increase the efficiency in how these resources are recovered, reducing their environmental impacts along the way. The PDP has been endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and their Global Partnership for Marine Litter, as well as the World Bank's Global Partnership for Oceans. The program can be used by everyone, and does not require legislative changes, bans or taxes in order to have it become effective, because we believe measurement will lead to better management.
Plastics have many benefits including their durability, cheapness and light weight, but these benefits can cause problems for the environment when not managed properly after their original use. Many of the world's waste management and recycling infrastructures can't keep pace with our consumption and waaste creation. Most plastics do not easily biodegrade, and instead remain in the environment for decades, even centuries. Plastic's cheapness encourages its ever greater use in single-use packaging, and discourages recycling, because of the variation in material types and difficulty in reaching economies of scale with waste streams that come from so many different sources. But, this waste stream can become a resource stream if we focus on its capture and re-use in new ways.
Millions of tons of durable, light-weight plastic waste are ending up in our landfills, countrysides, rivers and oceans, where it remains for decades, with some breaking up into ever-smaller pieces, but not going away. Smaller plastic pieces are mistakenly eaten by birds and fish, potentially entering our food chain.
PDP is an multi-stakeholer, investor-supported global initiative to encourage the world's businesses and institutions to measure their annual plastic use or waste aggregation within their operations. Without measurement, it is hard to manage, but with focus, it is easier to develop innovative strategies to efficiently use plastic, while reducing the environmental impact.