• Some 150mn tonnes of plastic are floating in the ocean
  • EU Directive is meant to reduce the spreading of disposable plastic products
  • Sustainable investment funds promote recycling and environmentally safe alternatives in a targeted fashion

Millions of tonnes of plastic waste are floating in the sea, putting human and animal life at risk. Investors could push back – for example by funnelling their money into companies that have environmental and social aspects high on the agenda of their business model.

Life without plastic? Impossible, come to think of it. Computers, telephone, comfortable clothing – plastic is everywhere, because it is robust, light, and cheap. The downside: when plastic is not burnt or recycled, it is often indestructible.

Whereas bigger plastic parts can sometimes be collected and recycled, this is hardly practicable for very small parts. According to statistics provided by the International Organization for Standardization, plastic production has increased by a factor of 20x from 1964 to 2015 to an annual 322mn tonnes.

The EU Commission is planning on issuing a ban on ten disposable plastic products that make up 70% of all waste in the ocean. Among them are cotton swabs, plastic cutlery and plates, and straws. Experts are calling for substantially clearer signals to be sent in terms of the general avoidance of plastic waste and the support of a closed loop recycling management.