Ocean plastic: an opportunity in the circular economy?

Published 15 October 2019

Initiatives are under way to address the global issue of plastics litter in the oceans. Norway’s SINTEF highlights the use of co-processing in the Ocean Plastic Turned into an Opportunity in Circular Economy project. By Dr Kåre Helge Karstensen, Palash Kumar Saha, Eirik Vigerust, Anneli Alatalo Paulsen, Dr Christian John Engelsen and Dr Mehdi Ahmadi, Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF), Norway.

Mining of plastic wastes at a dumpsite in Thailand. Image credit: Kåre Helge Karstensen

International action is key to addressing the most significant sources of plastics litter in the oceans, ie insufficient waste management in developing countries and emerging economies, especially connected to major world river basins, dumpsites, landfills and industrial hotspots. It is estimated that more than 80 per cent of marine debris comes from land-based sources with Asian countries among the top contributors to marine litter and microplastics.

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