“Stemming the Tide” was released on September 30, 2015, commissioned by The Ocean Conservancy. The steering committee on this report includes the World Wildlife Fund, the U.S. State Department, Coca Cola, Dow Chemical, and the American Chemistry Council.

The report examines the problem of plastic waste in our oceans, and outlines land-based strategies for reduction. Unfortunately, the report fails to achieve its stated aim by focusing almost entirely on waste management pathways that were long ago discredited.

Specifically, it recommends:

  • increased collection, and then burning, of up to 80% of waste in coastal areas of Asia,
  • changes in national laws and an increase in public subsidies to “de-risk” project financing and ensure profit for US, European, and other waste corporations, at an enormous cost to Asian cities, national governments, and the public at large,
  • an acceptance of industry trends that project a massive increase in plastic use as inevitable and even beneficial, including the use of low-grade and non-recyclable single-use plastic packaging.

In early October 2015, over 200 organizations and leaders joined an open letter to Ocean Conservancy with concerns about the report’s conclusions. This letter was accompanied by an initial technical critique of the report.

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