Promoting Reduce & Reuse Solutions to the Plastic Crisis

Recycling is not going to solve the plastic crisis. Oceana campaigns for corporate and legislative change to reduce our dependency on single-use plastics, including by adopting reusable alternatives.



To stop plastic from entering the ocean, we need to reduce the amount of plastic being produced. Without immediate changes to the way we produce and use plastics, the total amount of plastic waste is expected to double by 2025.
We need to set legally binding reuse targets, to end overpackaging, to improve collection systems and to avoid false solutions such as disposable compostable and bioplastics, as these materials do not degrade in the sea.

Only 9% of all the plastic waste ever generated has ever been recycled. Recycled plastics reach the ocean the same way as non-recycled. Plastic remains plastic.

To stop plastic from entering the ocean, we need to reduce the amount of plastic being produced.

So-called ‘greener’ plastics like bioplastics, compostable and biodegradable plastics are being marketed as a sustainable alternative and a solution to plastic pollution. However, many of these plastics are not biodegradable in the natural environment, including in the ocean. That is where reuse comes into play: reusing packaging, especially in the food and beverage industry, can reduce the need for new plastics and prevents single-use items from reaching the ocean. Producers need to conceive reuse and refill systems in which products and packaging are designed to be returned, washed, and used again for their same original purpose and without affecting the integrity of the material.

Deposit return systems incentivize consumers to return empty containers which can then be recycled or reused. By increasing the collection rates, these schemes contribute to reduce littering.

Oceana calls for policies that support the transition to refillable and reusable packaging solutions. We also demand that manufacturers reduce the amount of plastic they put into the supply chain and find other ways to package and deliver their products. Companies can also audit the unnecessary plastic they use in their premises, and create plastic-free zones. For example, hotels can take action to reduce single-use plastic and its impact on the coastal areas that their businesses depend on.