Story | 20 Feb, 2018

New tool to help companies fight plastic pollution

An online tool which helps companies measure their plastic footprint, developed by the social enterprise Searious Business and IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, was launched today at the Ocean Plastics Crisis Summit in London, UK.

The tool, Plastic Scan, allows companies to measure how much plastic they use, and how much plastic waste is generated along their value chain. Based on the results, companies receive recommendations on potential improvements to their workflow, enabling them to save money while reducing plastic pollution.

Every year, at least eight million tons of plastic end up in the ocean – equivalent to a garbage truck of plastic waste per minute. Plastic pollution threatens ocean health, food safety and quality, human health, coastal tourism, and contributes to climate change.

“Plastic pollution is the most pervasive problem affecting the ocean. Closing the plastic tap is becoming increasingly urgent, and we must speed up the transition to a circular economy,” says João Sousa, Project Officer at IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme. “The Plastic Scan online tool will allow companies to better manage raw materials, significantly cutting their plastic footprint.”

A recent IUCN report revealed that 98% of microplastics – particles under 5mm in size – directly released into our oceans are generated by land-based activity, mainly the laundering of synthetic textiles and the abrasion of tyres while driving. The report recommended that addressing marine plastic pollution requires analysing the whole lifecycle of plastic products, from product design to infrastructure and household use.

IUCN works with the public and private sectors to develop innovative, long-term solutions to plastic pollution by changing industry behaviour and influencing regulation.

Also see IUCN's Issues Briefs on marine plastics.