Plastic Leak Project Releases Guidelines

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First standardized guidelines to measure plastic pollution across corporate value chains published by the Plastic Leak Project

Leading sustainability consulting group Quantis and ecodesign center EA, in partnership with 35 member organizations and stakeholders, have released of the Plastic Leak Project (PLP) Guidelines, the first standardized methodology to map, measure and forecast plastic leakage across corporate value chains.

Plastic leakage is the potential amount of macro- and microplastics that are not kept in a circular loop or properly managed at their end-of-life, and thus leak into the environment. The PLP guidelines allow companies to move from commitment to science-based plastic strategies and meaningful actions on addressing plastic pollution.

Following a yearlong collaboration within the scope of the multi-stakeholder Plastic Leak Project and rigorous testing of the methodology through two in-depth pilot projects, the pioneering guidelines and proof-of-concept case studies are publicly available today.

Download the Plastic Leak Project Methodological Guidelines and Brief.

IWTO is proud to be part of this project, and in furthering the understanding of the sustainability of textiles throughout the supply chain.

Of the estimated 8300 million metric tons of virgin plastic produced between 1950–2015, only 7% has been recycled, while more than half — approximately 4900 million metric tons — has ended up in landfill or leaked into the environment

"The images of beached whales filled with our rubbish are excruciating to watch," says IWTO Secretary General Dalena White. "Our weekend shopping therapy is ending up in our Sunday salmon. While we struggle to understand how we have reached this point, IWTO members have always believed that the science will show us the way forward."

Until now, businesses have lacked clear and reliable data and methods to translate their bold commitments into actions with measurable and tangible impact. As a result, many of the policies and efforts to-date have been based on best guesses rather than science. While critical for reducing plastic waste, these measures don’t get to the root causes of plastic pollution.

PLP's science-driven approach to tackling plastic pollution now gives companies a tool to design better products and data-driven strategies to limit plastic pollution.


Wool Does Not Contribute to Microplastic Pollution

Another strategy might well be: choose wool. 

A natural fibre made of protein, the same as human hair, wool offers a biodegradable counterpoint to the microplastics narrative.

Early results from new research in New Zealand have shown that in laboratory tests that simulate biodegradation in sea water, wool samples biodegraded by 27% in just 90 days, while synthetic competitor fibres showed little or no biodegradation in that period. 

The same research indicated that machine washable wool biodegrades readily, leaving no evidence of any potentially harmful residues.

Read More

-  Wool in Aquatic Environemnts Fact Sheet

- Wool is Biodegradable Fact Sheet


Join the informational webinar To raise awareness on this new methodology for plastic leakage assessment, Quantis is hosting a public webinar with members of the Plastic Leak Project to present the PLP guidelines and highlight how sustainability managers and corporate decision-makers can leverage this new resource to drive effective plastic pollution strategies. Register for the WEBINAR: Tackling plastic pollution - introducing science-driven guidelines to address plastic leakage in corporate value chains on April 2nd.

Banner Image by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash


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