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Project Kaisei Exposes Plastic Waste

plastic household items

The Carbon Disclosure Project, a nonprofit launched in 2000, has convinced 2,500 companies in 60 countries to measure and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. In 2009, the CDP launched the Water Disclosure Project, a similar measurement and disclosure project for water. But CO2 and water are only part of the corporate pollution picture. Enter the Plastic Disclosure Project, an investor-led initiative that will ask corporations to measure and reveal
their production and use of plastic and plastic wastes.

The project, launched this week at the Clinton Global Initiative, is the brainchild of Project Kaisei, ASrIA (The Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia), and HKUST (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology). Plastic disclosure is the next logical step after carbon and water disclosure–less than 15% of plastic is recycled, and over 7 million tons of trash enters marine environments each year.

The PSP project leaders hope to launch an annual plastic survey in the first half of 2011. All corporate responses will be made public, and a summary report will be published on a yearly basis. Corporations are already getting on board. “As an incredibly versatile material, plastic is ubiquitous, but its
improper disposal also makes it a major contributor to coastal zone and
marine pollution,” said Ben Ridley,
Head of Sustainability Affairs at Credit Suisse/Asia, in a statement. “The PDP can
help get the issue onto the business radar and is a reminder of
everyone’s responsibility to reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

Another potential PDP perk: The plastic disclosure program could get Project Kaisei and its ocean cleanup projects further into the public eye. What better way for PDP members to offset their plastic use than by sponsoring Kaisei’s missions into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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