NEW YORK — rePurpose Global announced the launch of the Plastic Reality Project, a first-of-its-kind sustainability program that seeks to advance plastic pollution reduction efforts. The project kicked off on Sept. 11, during which leaders from the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) and other environmentally conscious groups and corporations traveled to Tamil Nadu and Kerala, India.

The Plastic Reality Project provides corporate leaders with knowledge and expertise to help reduce plastic pollution by addressing inefficiencies and inclusivity and promoting greater impact.

According to data from Gartner, shared by rePurpose Global, 90% of sustainable packaging commitments set by enterprises throughout various industries, including pet, are not on track to be met by 2025, while global plastic production is expected to double by the end of the decade. With this in mind, rePurpose Global hopes to bridge the gap between ambition and actionable steps through the Plastic Reality Project.

“As an environmental finance provider, we at rePurpose Global have evaluated hundreds of attempts to tackle plastic pollution across the globe in recent years, most of which have achieved limited success and scale,” said Peter Wang Hjemdahl, chief advocacy officer at rePurpose Global. “Through the Plastic Reality Project, we hope to turn this spotty track record around and empower sustainability decision-makers with the knowledge they need to reduce bias in evaluating solutions, make better impact investments, and ultimately accelerate our fight against the plastic epidemic.”

Participants in rePurpose Global's Plastic Reality Project traveled around India to gain knowledge on material recovery, waste collection and managementSource: rePurpose Global

The initiative will upskill 5,000 leaders in sustainability efforts during the next five years, helping them tackle plastic pollution through education, training programs, mentoring networks and certification schemes for professionals. From Sept. 11 to 17, more than 20 corporate and sustainable leaders, including those from The World Economic Forum, Target, Emerson Collective, Riverside Natural Foods, Coca-Cola and PSC, traveled throughout India.

Since its founding, rePurpose Global has supported more than 10,000 waste innovators by implementing waste collection systems and plastic reduction infrastructure throughout 15 different cities across Columbia, Ghana, India, Indonesia and Kenya, helping to divert more than 14 million lbs of plastic from landfills and the environment yearly.

The project was launched with support from the Sustainable Ocean Alliance and the GreenBiz Group.

“Marine plastic pollution is a complex reality that can be difficult to grasp, let alone solve,” said Craig Dudenhoeffer, chief innovation officer at the Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA). “This new initiative from rePurpose Global very much aligns with SOA’s mission to create a global workforce dedicated to restoring ocean health and brings impact leaders to the heart of the issue to instigate meaningful action.”

Participants of the Plastic Reality Project visit innovative waste collection centers, material recovery facilities and learn more about waste management from panel and roundtable discussions. rePurpose Global will also enable participants to explore the workings of its Neela Sapana project, run in partnership with Waste Ventures India, and its Hara Bhoomi project, as well as meet the organization’s partners Green Worms and women waste workers of the Haritha Karma Sena.

Read more about sustainability efforts in the pet food and treat industry.