Marine Plastics

Are you looking for ways to stop plastics ending up in the marine environment? Would you like to understand which plastic items are the most problematic, and how they can best be dealt with?

The UN Sustainability Development Goals have set a target of preventing and significantly reducing marine pollution by 2025. With 80% of marine litter originating on land, the majority of action must take place at it’s source, rather than relying on ocean clean-ups.

We have advised governments, municipalities and NGOs on the scale of marine plastic pollution (and on the problem of plastics in the freshwater environment) and what options are available to tackle it, including associated costs and likely outcomes. Our in-depth research in this area means we have world leading knowledge of the issue and a thorough understanding of potential solutions, which ones have been applied, which have been successful, and where efforts should be directed to best tackle it in the future.

We can help you to develop approaches to tackle:

  • Single-use plastics, including; drinks bottles, caps and lids; cigarette butts; cotton buds and sticks; crisp packets and sweet wrappers; sanitary products; plastic bags; cutlery, straws and stirrers; drinks cups and lids; balloons and balloon sticks; food containers; and nappies;
  • Microplastics from a range of sources including vehicle tyre wear, synthetic clothing, plastic pellets (often known as nurdles), and artificial turf infill; and
  • Fishing gear.

We can advise on the pros and cons of possible policy mechanisms, including economic instruments that can be used to prevent marine plastics in ways that also prevent waste, lead to high levels of high quality recycling. These include:

  • Taxes and charges;
  • Deposit refund systems (DRS) for beverage containers; and
  • Other types of extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes.

We can also guide you through the various types of bio-based and ‘biodegradable’ polymers now available and provide detailed insight into the merits and limitations of some of these alternatives.

Our policy and strategy team works closely with our sustainable business team – lead advisors to the private sector – so our recommendations always take account of the latest market developments, and with a sound understanding of the way in which businesses may respond to specific policy interventions.

From mapping out plastic flows in Kenya, to drawing up plans to prevent plastics entering specific river systems in Indonesia, to considering the options to tackle single-use plastic items in Norway, we pride ourselves on developing location specific advice. While the headline focus may be on marine plastic pollution, we will always seek to maximise the social and economic co-benefits of the proposed measures, in order to deliver the greatest overall positive impact in a cost-effective way.

Contact one of our team if you would like to know more on how we can help your organisation address what we believe will be one of the defining issues of the 21st century.