Currently there are no available tools to collect and clean up the accumulation of micro-plastic fragments in the open oceans. Prevention at source is therefore the key action to take in order to reduce the amount of plastics that reach the oceans. These preventative measures include:
• Reduce the production of single-use plastic (packaging) and find more sustainable alternatives such as card, paper or vegetable products that can be composted.
• Collect and re-process single-use plastics instead of discarding them. Plastics must be directed into a reprocessing stream, to gain the value back and avoid disposal into landfill or the environment where it will stay for a very long time.
• Make brand-owners who package and sell products, responsible for the environmentally-sound management of the packaging at the end of its life.
• Introduce incentives for collection and recycling of plastics and packaging in order to reduce the amount of waste produced and disposed. Beverage container deposit return systems are one successful example of such an incentive.
• Reduce the amount of plastics that leak into the ocean or other parts of the environment by improving the collection systems and recovery infrastructure in the high leakage countries (China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam or Sri Lanka). These countries are unable to appropriately manage the increasing amount of plastic waste that is produced.
• Increase the value of plastics in order to incentivise plastics collection in countries where formal recycling systems are absent and are replaced by informal systems, like for example waste picking.
See the Agenda for Action for more details.