WASHINGTON — During the 78th UN General Assembly, the US Department of State announced the launch of a new initiative to help curb plastic pollution: the End Plastic Pollution International Collaborative (EPPIC). The initiative will be funded with $15 million in initial US funding and will seek to support innovative solutions that address plastic pollution.

According to the US Department of State, plastic pollution has become a crisis throughout the globe, impacting biodiversity, health, food security and economies. Many industries contribute to this crisis, including the pet food industry. According to the Pet Sustainability Coalition, an estimated 300 million lbs of plastic waste comes from pet food and treat packaging in the United States annually. Though many advancements in packaging have been developed to help lessen the industry’s impact, more work still needs to be done.

To tackle the plastic pollution crisis, EPPIC will serve as a public-private partnership, catalyzing governments, NGOs and businesses and supporting projects around the globe that combat plastic pollution. It will run prize competitions for projects that help make the design, production and management of plastics more circular, fund training for communities that have been impacted by the crisis, and advocate for local, regional and national-level solutions, all to make the lifecycle of plastics more sustainable.

The initiative was introduced by Jose W. Fernandez, undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment. EPPIC is a multi-stakeholder effort and complements the US Agency of International Development’s (USAID) Save our Seas Initiative and Clean Cities Blue Ocean projects, which have invested to improve plastic waste management at the local level.

The Aspen Insititute, the Ocean Foundation and Searious Business will serve as initial partners of EPPIC, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature will host the partnership. The US Department of State expects more partners, NGOs, foundations and businesses to join and support the initiative in the coming months.

Read more about sustainability efforts impacting the pet food industry.