Great Lakes Region aims to create circular economy to fight plastic pollution

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plastic-bottles-on-a-shoreline
It’s estimated that roughly 10,000 tonnes of plastics enter the Great Lakes every year, with higher concentrations in more populated and industrialized areas.

Plastic contamination of water will be the first priority area for a new initiative called Circular Great Lakes.

Circular, as in circular economy, the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) says its venture will work to design-out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use. The team will support “transformational” projects for the lakes’ benefit through targeted actions and partnerships.

An estimated 10,000 tonnes of plastic pollution could be entering the Great Lakes every year from the U.S. and Canada, according to models developed by the Rochester Institute of Technology, where researchers said the yearly amount of plastic in Lake Ontario equates to 28 Olympic-sized swimming pools full of plastic bottles.

Mark Fisher, president and CEO of CGLR, says the new initiative “will be the catalyst” for forming partnerships and mobilizing public-private sector investments to protect the Great Lakes Region and its some 108 million residents from plastic waste.

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“Plastic waste and pollution are serious issues in the Great Lakes,” said Fisher in a statement to media.

Plastic contamination of water will be the first priority area for a new initiative called Circular Great Lakes.

Circular, as in circular economy, the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) says its venture will work to design-out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use. The team will support “transformational” projects for the lakes’ benefit through targeted actions and partnerships.

An estimated 10,000 tonnes of plastic pollution could be entering the Great Lakes every year from the U.S. and Canada, according to models developed by the Rochester Institute of Technology, where researchers said the yearly amount of plastic in Lake Ontario equates to 28 Olympic-sized swimming pools full of plastic bottles.

Mark Fisher, president and CEO of CGLR, says the new initiative “will be the catalyst” for forming partnerships and mobilizing public-private sector investments to protect the Great Lakes Region and its some 108 million residents from plastic waste.

“Plastic waste and pollution are serious issues in the Great Lakes,” said Fisher in a statement to media.

Circular Great Lakes representatives say they will work with partners such as the Alliance to End Plastic Waste to develop a circular economy strategy for plastics in the region. Over the next five years, they plan to develop a strategy to drive the systemic changes necessary to close the loop for plastics in the region, shifting away from a “linear, take-make-dispose economy and materials management mindset,” the group explained.

“The Alliance firmly believes that enabling a circular economy will be key to ending plastic waste in the environment,” announced Jacob Duer, president and CEO of the Alliance. “The Circular Great Lakes initiative by the Council of the Great Lakes Region is an important step that aims to accelerate the region’s transition towards a zero plastic waste future. We look forward to collaborating with CGLR to develop the insights and expertise needed to realise this shared vision,” added Duer.

Founding corporate partners and funders of Circular Great Lakes include Dow, Inc., Charter Next Generation, Imperial, Pregis Corporation, American Packaging Corporation and Rothmans Benson & Hedges. More than 20 knowledge partners from government, academia and the non-profit sectors are supporting the initiative and are uniting to actively combat plastic waste and pollution in the Great Lakes.

Circular Great Lakes representatives say they will work with partners such as the Alliance to End Plastic Waste to develop a circular economy strategy for plastics in the region. Over the next five years, they plan to develop a strategy to drive the systemic changes necessary to close the loop for plastics in the region, shifting away from a “linear, take-make-dispose economy and materials management mindset,” the group explained.

“The Alliance firmly believes that enabling a circular economy will be key to ending plastic waste in the environment,” announced Jacob Duer, president and CEO of the Alliance. “The Circular Great Lakes initiative by the Council of the Great Lakes Region is an important step that aims to accelerate the region’s transition towards a zero plastic waste future. We look forward to collaborating with CGLR to develop the insights and expertise needed to realise this shared vision,” added Duer.

Founding corporate partners and funders of Circular Great Lakes include Dow, Inc., Charter Next Generation, Imperial, Pregis Corporation, American Packaging Corporation and Rothmans Benson & Hedges. More than 20 knowledge partners from government, academia and the non-profit sectors are supporting the initiative and are uniting to actively combat plastic waste and pollution in the Great Lakes.

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