The world generates 275 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, an estimated 5-13 tonnes of which ends up in the sea. If we do not implement countermeasures, it is estimated that the plastic waste will quadruple by 2050. The situation is dramatic and requires action.

Put a price on plastic

In order to ensure sustainable and vibrant oceans for the future, it is important that we find good solutions to prevent more litter and plastic from ending up in the sea. First and foremost, comprehensive measures must be implemented on land to stop the flow of litter, and secondly, we must do what we can to clean up.

Only 20 per cent of plastic is recycled worldwide. This is not only a major environmental problem, but also a huge loss of resources. Changing the definition of plastic waste from litter to resource is an important part of the transition to a circular economy. Recycled plastic must become competitive with new plastic as a raw material, in order to stimulate collection and recycling. When used plastic articles become part of the value chain, it leads to less waste of resources, for example through refund schemes.

A multidisciplinary plan for cleaning up

Challenges in this area are often characterised by the fact that there are few or no incentives to initiate development projects due to a lack of willingness of the market to pay. To stimulate this development, funding should be allocated to an application-based pilot scheme.

The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association believes in bringing people together across traditional dividing lines and different industries to find new solutions to the world’s environmental challenges. We believe that collaboration with the environmental movement, various industries, and with academia and the public sector is the best way to find new, robust solutions to our common challenges.

The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association encourages the authorities to:

  • Develop an offensive strategy to fight marine litter and the spread of microplastics nationally and internationally
  • Invite shipowners and the Norwegian maritime cluster to join projects to remove plastic from the sea
  • Allocate funding for an application-based pilot scheme for the development of new technology aimed at mapping and technical solutions for efficient clean-up
  • Establish a market mechanism for developing a comprehensive value chain to place a value on all plastics and help remove plastics from the oceans
  • Instruct municipal ports to establish waste plans for improved management of plastic waste, among other things by facilitating increased use of recycling as part of the value chain