Carbon Disclosure, Meet Plastics Disclosure

Environmental Leader and the New York Times are reporting that hundreds of companies and institutions should expect to receive a questionnaire in early October about their use of plastic. The Plastic Disclosure Project, right ahead.


Industry estimates state that 300 million tons of virgin plastic are made every year. If just one percent can be saved through efficiencies, better design, or increased recycling, then 3 million tons could be saved, which is roughly what some conservative estimates say are floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. -Plastics Disclosure Project (PDP)

Some companies have already made progress in better managing plastics.  Electrolux, the Swedish appliance maker, for example, introduced a range of vacuum cleaners in February that are made from recycled plastic. Coca-Cola has devised a plastic bottle that contains some plant-based materials, a small step for which the soda company seems to be wringing significant PR traction.

Most interestingly perhaps, as the New York Times points out, Procter&Gamble has the long-term aim of using 100% recycled or renewable material in its products and packaging.

Better managed plastics appeals to some of us as a resource-saver if nothing else — for too long we’ve treated plastic as an almost-infinite supply of cheap material, both raw and article.

Remember the Carbon Disclosure Project — which is not gone but currently forgotten?  Well, this plastics program seeks to inspire organizations to approach plastic consumption in much the same way as we’ve begun to approach carbon consumption:  more awareness, some conservation.  Fair enough.

Targeted big users of plastic include:

  • companies
  • universities
  • hospitals
  • sports groups

This October, the plastics questionnaire will ask organizations to report how much plastic they use and how they recycle.  Further, organizations will be asked what policies they have to:

  • reduce consumption
  • increase recycling
  • increase the use of biodegradable plastic

Plastic Disclosure blog is here, if interested.