The impacts on biodiversity and our health
From the Arctic to the Pacific, via the Mediterranean, plastics are now omnipresent in the ocean, mostly in the form of microplastics. The reality of a new “plastisphere” at sea is confirmed every time the nets are raised on the schooner Tara.
This plastic waste changes the ways ecosystems work, weakens marine biodiversity and puts human health in danger. The dumping of waste on land being huge and marine plastics essentially micro-fragmented, the idea of cleaning the ocean is fanciful. The solutions lie on dry land and must be implemented by each and every one of us: political and economic actors and the public.
- 80% of marine waste comes from the land
- 4.5 millions tonnes of plastic waste generated every year in France
- 73,6 % of plastics in France are dumped in landfill or incinerated
- 10 millions tonnes of plastic waste are discharged into the ocean, that’s the equivalent to one tipper truck every minute
Reduce, reuse and recycle
The idea of the total removal of plastic from our societies, in the short or medium term, seems fanciful to us. For the Tara Ocean Foundation, the most important thing is to rethink the way we use plastics, commit to an ecological transition to other materials and to set a vision for the future of “no plastic in the natural environment”. To achieve this, we are relying on the concept of the circular economy: there are numerous solutions and more on the way.
To reduce or remove problem plastics, single-use or unnecessary items.
To increase reuse and improve the performance of collection and recycling
To develop eco-design and substitution for problem materials
Because each and every one of us, political and financial decision makers and the public, is both the cause and the victim of this pollution, the question of who is responsible is pointless. We prefer to pose this question to the stakeholders who are able to take action.
To call for decisive action from public and private stakeholders
The Tara Ocean Foundation is involved in national legislative debates and also in discussions with the companies who are most able to take action, in a collective discussion such as in the context of Pacte National sur les Emballages Plastiques (National Agreement on Plastic Packaging). Lastly, we are working with local authorities with directly operational suggestions as part of the Charte Mon territoire s’engage: rivière, fleuve sans plastique, océan protégé (My area is committed charter: plastic-free rivers, ocean protected).
Legislative frameworks in France
Political action to commit to a transition to a world with a natural environment free of plastic is primordial This negotiated action begins with informing politicians and leaders about the challenges linked to plastic pollution and also by constructing an ambitious legislative and regulatory framework.
- Set an ambitious trajectory to eliminate non-essential single-use plastics.
- Define a framework for developing reuse and reparability.
- Set the conditions for efficient collection and recycling.
National Agreement on Plastic Packaging
In February 2019, the Tara Ocean Foundation, actors from the public and private sector and other NGOs (WWF France and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation), alongside the French Minister for Ecological Transition, signed the National Agreement on Plastic Packaging.
By working with the most determined representative from the agri-food, cosmetics and retail sectors, the Tara Ocean Foundation is aiming for substantial leverage. Every action to reduce or ban unnecessary and problem packaging, to reduce the number of resins or toxic additives used or disruptors to sorting, for improved recyclability of packaging, can lead to a snowball effect which we believe to be essential for the rapid reduction of pollution. Lastly, these actors are destined to carry in their wake those industrialists who still have cold feet.
- Priority is given to the reduction and elimination of unnecessary and problematic packaging.
- The reduction of the number of resins used and the elimination of toxic additives or disruptors of sorting for a better recyclability of packaging.
- The use of alternative materials and the development of eco-designed packaging when packaging cannot be avoided.
Charte Mon Territoire s’engage: rivière, fleuve sans plastique, océan protégé
In March 2020, in association with the Initiative pour l’Avenir des Grands Fleuves (IAGF – Initiative for the future of major rivers) and Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR), the Tara Ocean Foundation asked candidates for the municipal elections to sign the Charte Mon territoire s’engage : rivière, fleuve sans plastique, océan protégé to commit themselves as future mayors to the combat against plastic pollution.
Now signed by more than 80 local authorities, the charter is designed to encourage towns and cities to take action against plastic pollution. Local application of regulatory obligations, identification of local plastic streams, overlooked sources of pollution, construction of new solutions. The majority of solutions to plastic pollution are played out on a local level.
- Push cities to act against plastic pollution.
- Propose innovative awareness and education tools.
- Create collaborative spaces to share experiences and successes.
- Work within pilot territories to develop collective solutions.