June 8, 2022 / 2 minute read

Let’s Protect the World’s Oceans, Together

Written by Nicole Voss, Director of Sustainability 

I think a lot about water — about how it flows from fields, parking lots and rooftops into the watersheds around it. I think about how best to manage it, how best to keep it clean, how best to protect it. It’s a big part of what I do at ADS.

Today, World Ocean Day, I’m thinking about it more intently. All those streams and rivers I think about so much eventually reach the oceans. World Ocean Day was created by the United Nations to make sure people around world understand the way our human actions affect our oceans. This year, World Ocean Day is focused on the idea of revitalization — of bringing new life and vitality to the waters that cover 70 percent of our planet.

Those waters are constantly under threat from plastics, pollutants and overfishing. If you haven’t seen images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, I’d encourage you to check them out. Also known as the Pacific trash vortex, the patch is actually two large masses of marine debris, mainly plastics, off the coasts of California and Japan. Those masses are our trash, the plastics that we don’t reuse or recycle, that escape our waste streams and end up in our watersheds and eventually end up in our ocean.

It's likely to get worse. A recent draft report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds that plastic in our oceans — including macroplastics such as toys and bottles, as well as microplastics and pellets — will triple by 2060 unless bold regional or global regulatory policies are adopted immediately.

My company, ADS, is committed to removing plastic from the waste stream. We are the largest recycler of HDPE plastics in North America, turning the country’s shampoo bottles and milk jugs into pipes that manage stormwater runoff around the world. We have ambitious goals to do more, and have challenged ourselves to recycle a billion pounds of plastic a year by 2032.

And earlier this year, we became a Blue Level Member of Operation Clean Sweep, the international program to reduce plastic resin loss into the environment. Achieving that distinction meant lots of work for our company, but we believed they were worthwhile efforts. Blue Level Members have committed to losing zero plastic pellets from their operations.

As a global company that employs 3,700 people and operates 63 manufacturing plants, our commitment to keeping resin pellets out of the waters is not a small one. And sustainability is a big part of who we are. At ADS, our reason is water and protecting that vast resource must be a crucial part of our business practices.

Corporate sustainability efforts are not always easy to achieve and I am lucky to work for a company that takes those goals seriously. But even if you don’t, I believe we all have a role to play in revitalizing the oceans. 

As we celebrate World Ocean Day, I challenge you and your companies to think about how you might better protect the world’s waters. Can you commit to greater recycling practices, either on a large scale through your employer and its workflows, or on a smaller one in your own life? Our partners at SWACO have a great toolkit to help you get started. Can you or your company use less plastic? Can you recycle the plastic you do use? The world’s oceans — and our future generations — are counting on us.

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