Fate of plastic waste
Globally, 5 to 13 million tonnes of plastics end up in the oceans every year. Plastic debris is then transported by marine currents, sometimes over very long distances. It can be washed up on land, degrade into microplastics or form dense areas of marine litter trapped in ocean gyres.
Research shows that a large share of ocean plastic stems from sources on land due to insufficient waste management in low- and lower-middle income countries.
It is estimated that most of the plastic waste that reaches the ocean is low-quality plastic waste. This plastic is difficult to recycle, due to technical properties, degradation or economics. The OPTOCE project is showcasing a possible solution to stopping the leakage of low-quality plastic waste to our oceans.