Employees, families, friends and customers of The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) are collaborating with local organizations across the world and Ocean Conservancy to take part in beach and waterway cleanups at more than 50 locations across the globe to bring attention to the issue of ocean plastic pollution.
The cleanup effort, called #PullingOurWeight, challenged participants to remove at least 4 pounds of waste per person from local waterways and communities. Four pounds is the average amount of waste that each person on earth produces each day. In the last month, more than 4,500 Dow employees, families and friends participated in cleanup events along with industry peers and Dow customers, making this the largest participation of Dow volunteers for a single cause in company history.
“This year, Dow volunteers have participated in more cleanups than ever before, and I am so impressed with the level of commitment from our employees around the world and extended Dow family,” said Diego Donoso, president of Dow’s Packaging & Specialty Plastics business, in a statement. “From Asia to Africa, Europe to the Americas, our cleanups to date have removed more than 40,000 pounds of trash from local waterways. Dow is #PullingOurWeight for a cleaner, healthier ocean, and we encourage others to join us in this movement.”
“Dow has long supported Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup and the organization’s ocean plastic mitigation efforts,” said Dow CEO Jim Fitterling in a statement. “No waste—plastic or otherwise—belongs in the ocean or anywhere in our environment. Through global and local collaborations with governments, NGOs and other industry leaders, Dow is working to innovate technologies to recycle waste, clean up existing waste and support initiatives that prevent waste from entering the environment.”
Dow is partnering across the value chain to advance a circular economy for plastics. Poor waste management infrastructure combined with the careless disposal of plastics after they are used have resulted in too much plastic being lost to landfills and the environment. Appropriately managing the lifecycle of plastics from design to disposal will retain the many social and economic benefits of plastics for society without compromising the world’s ocean, rivers or streams.
“Advancing a circular economy is a key component of Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals,” stated Fitterling. “It’s clear to us that addressing end-of-life options for plastics waste will be one of the most important business opportunities of our time. Whether recycling plastics to its original state to capture the energy within, or reformulating waste plastics into new products such as footwear, construction materials, clothing or other valuable products—there are viable options that exist now to close the loop on plastics.”
For the #PullingOurWeight campaign, Dow and Ocean Conservancy received support from four of Dow’s customers through certified collection bags for cleanups around the world. In North America, bag producer Polykar, Inc. and packaging customer Winpak teamed up with Dow to produce 270,000 collection bags for Ocean Conservancy cleanups in the United States and Canada. In Europe, Dow collaborated with European recycler GCR and Spanish packaging producer Plasticos Romero to produce 128,000 collection bags for Ocean Conservancy cleanups across the world in markets such as Mexico, Portugal, Africa and Guam. The bags were made of recycled plastic and used Dow’s RETAIN compatibilizer technology.