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Recover: Create the Infrastructure to Recover Used Plastics

Research has found the vast majority of marine litter comes from areas without suitable infrastructure to recover waste.

In many parts of the world that lack systems to collect and manage waste, trash winds up in open, unmanaged dumpsites, waterways, and eventually the ocean. Even in developed countries, far too much waste is littered on land or at sea. And much of it is simply wasted, buried in landfills.

Globally, we need to recover these used plastics and other valuable materials so we can repurpose them and keep them out of the environment.

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To meet this challenge, we are investing in research and development to help jumpstart the infrastructure necessary to recover (collect and sort) used plastics and other “waste” materials, both in developing nations and in the United States.

To help create this infrastructure in developing nations, we are investing resources and working with organizations such as:

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Circulate Capital

An impact-focused investment management firm that finances innovation, companies, and infrastructure that prevent the flow of plastic waste into the world’s ocean while advancing the circular economy

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Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance®

An alliance that unites industry, science, and conservation leaders who seek to reduce and, where possible, reinvent products and services that damage ocean wildlife or ecosystems

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The Alliance to End Plastic Waste

An alliance composed of prominent global companies that have set a goal of deploying $1.5 billion over five years in infrastructure, innovation, education/engagement, and cleanup to help end plastic waste in the environment

While it’s estimated that the United States contributes less than 1 percent of marine litter annually, there still are huge opportunities to recover and repurpose more used plastics. We support initiatives with organizations such as:

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The Recycling Partnership

A public/private partnership that invests in communities to boost education, infrastructure, access, and technical assistance for curbside recycling programs

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Keep America Beautiful

A national nonprofit that inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment by ending litter and improving recycling

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Adopt-A-Beach

A program that provides litter receptacles and anti-litter messaging to help keep beaches clean in southern California

Many programs we support are designed to recover plastics that typically have not been collected for recycling in curbside bins, such as flexible wraps and pouches. For example:

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Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF)

A non-profit organization designed to research and develop innovative methods to collect and sort flexible plastic packaging at curbside, using existing recycling equipment

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Recover More Plastic

A range of tools and resources that enable communities to collect plastics at curbside that typically have not been recycled

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Wrap Recycling Action Program

(WRAP) and Plastic Film Recycling – Collaborative community programs coupled with consumer information on how to collect plastic bags and wraps for recycling, primarily at large grocery and retail stores

Other initiatives are designed to help communities recover more plastics in general. For example:

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Recycle Your Plastics

An extensive collection of resources to help recycling professionals and communities collect more plastics

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Plastics Recycling Terms & Tools

A common set of plastics recycling terms and tools to help communities collect and sell more plastics

America's Plastic Makers® are the leading U.S. producers of plastic resin who are among the world’s foremost providers of innovations, which improve the quality of our lives, our environment, and our economy. America's Plastic Makers® is a registered mark of the American Chemistry Council, Inc.