BIMCO Calls for Eliminating Single-Use Plastics
Even if plastics on ships are efficiently sorted, handled, and sent back to land, they can still end up in the ocean because of how waste is handled on land. Up to 1.75 billion plastic bottles are used on ships every year. BIMCO thinks that getting rid of plastics that aren't needed is the best way for the shipping industry to stop plastics from getting into the ocean.
As a first step, BIMCO has collaborated with Ocean Bottle on co-branded reusable bottles that represent the necessary change in the shipping sector; ships transitioning from single-use plastic bottles to sustainable alternatives such as onboard water supplies or larger dispensers.
Dr Bev Mackenzie, Head of Intergovernmental Engagement at BIMCO, said:
"We've learnt from members who have successfully implemented initiatives to remove single-use plastics bottles from their ships that providing the crew with a reusable bottle, alongside other actions, can make a big difference. Over half of the companies that recently completed a BIMCO survey are already providing such bottles."
BIMCO says that an onboard system costs a quarter as much as providing water in single-use plastic bottles and can pay for itself in just one year. Also, BIMCO data shows that refills can save each ship about 2,355 kg of CO2 emissions per year. Refilling a bottle from a modern system is also good for the welfare of the crew because the options available today provide high-quality, safe, and delicious drinking water.
"While solutions exist, we still have work to do and will be working with our members to assist them in selecting the best onboard systems and bottles for their needs." What we do know is that our industry’s small steps in phasing out single-use plastic bottles could have a big impact,” Mackenzie says.
Every bottle purchased by BIMCO will help fund the collection of 11.4 kg (the weight of nearly 1,000 single-use plastic bottles) of ocean trash from the world's most contaminated waterways.
Locals in some of the worst-affected coastal areas, like the Philippines, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, India, and Indonesia, collect plastic and trade it for money or digital credit, which they can use to pay for things like school, technology, healthcare, and microfinance.
This infrastructure is made possible by partners like Plastic Bank, Plastics for Change, and rePurpose, who set up collection sites and assure secure transactions to collectors through traceable technology.