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Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean

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This report describes the nature of challenges posed by Arctic marine plastic pollution and provides targeted recommendations to policymakers and researchers; it is based on a workshop the two organizations co-hosted with the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
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PAPER
MARCH 2020
THE ARCTIC INITIATIVE | THE POLAR INSTITUTE
Policy and Action
on Plastic in the
Arctic Ocean
October 2019
Workshop Summary &
Recommendations
David Balton
Brittany Janis
Halla Hrund Logaddottir
Marisol Maddox
Fran Ulmer
The Arctic Initiative
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs
Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
www.belfercenter.org/Arctic
The Polar Institute
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20004-3027
www.wilsoncenter.org/program/polar-institute
Statements and views expressed in this report are solely those of the authors and do not imply
endorsement by Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School, the Belfer Center for Science and
International Aairs, or the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Design and layout by Andrew Facini
Copyright 2019, President and Fellows of Harvard College
Printed in the United States of America
PAPER
MARCH 2020
THE ARCTIC INITIATIVE | THE POLAR INSTITUTE
Policy and Action
on Plastic in the
Arctic Ocean
October 2019
Workshop Summary &
Recommendations
David Balton
Brittany Janis
Halla Hrund Logaddottir
Marisol Maddox
Fran Ulmer
iii
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Co-Sponsors
e Arctic Initiative: e Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School is a
joint project of the Environment and Natural Resources Program and the
Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center for
Science and International Aairs. With the goal of providing knowledge
and tools that will help reduce risk and increase resilience in the region
and elsewhere, the Arctic Initiative is initiating new research; convening
stakeholders such as policymakers, scientists, and Arctic residents; and
training a new generation of public and private experts to understand and
address the many factors that are driving change and risk in the region.
e Polar Institute: Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has
become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and
Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the
Arctic Public Square. e Institute holistically studies the central policy
issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance,
climate change, economic development, scientic research, security,
and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to
policymakers and other stakeholders.
e Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council: e theme of the
Arctic Council Chairmanship program for 2019-2021 reects Icelands
commitment to the principle of sustainable development and refers to the
necessity of close cooperation between the states and peoples of the region
and beyond. With sustainable development as an overarching theme,
Iceland will highlight four priorities: e Arctic Marine Environment,
Climate and Green Energy Solutions, People and Communities of the
Arctic, and a Stronger Arctic Council.
Statements and views expressed in this report are solely those of the authors
and do not imply endorsement by any organization or institution.
iv Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
About the Authors
David Balton is a Senior Fellow in the Polar Institute of the Woodrow
Wilson International Center for Scholars. He previously served as the
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries in the Department of
States Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, attaining the rank of
Ambassador in 2006. He was responsible for coordinating the development
of U.S. foreign policy concerning oceans and sheries, and overseeing
U.S. participation in international organizations dealing with these issues.
His portfolio included managing U.S. foreign policy issues relating to the
Arctic and Antarctica.
Ambassador Balton functioned as the lead U.S. negotiator on a wide range
of agreements in the eld of oceans and sheries and chaired numerous
international meetings. During the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Coun-
cil (2015-2017), he served as Chair of the Senior Arctic O—cials. His
prior Arctic Council experience included co-chairing the Arctic Coun-
cil Task Forces that produced the 2011 Agreement on Cooperation on
Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic and the 2013
Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Prepared—ness and
Response in the Arctic. He separately chaired negotiations that produced
the 2018 Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the
Central Arctic Ocean.
Brittany Janis is Project Coordinator for the Arctic Initiative at Harvard
Kennedy School. Her research focuses on advancing the Initiatives marine
conservation and climate resilience research streams. Ms. Janis leads Arctic
Initiative strategy development, student and fellow engagement, events and
communications. Outside of the Arctic Initiative, she teaches as a course
coach for “Persuasion, e Art and Science of Eective Inuence” and
“Leadership in Environmental Conicts” at the Kennedy School, where
she is also a member of the Green Team Plastic Pollution Working Group
and is a founder of the Harvard Alumni for Climate and the Environment
(HACE) Special Interest Group.
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Ms. Janis is a 2019 graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School MC/MPA Pro-
gram, where she focused her studies on climate change risk and resilience.
While a student, she worked as a Research Assistant for the Arctic Initia-
tive and was a member of the Kennedy School Sustainability Leadership
Council. Before coming to Harvard, Ms. Janis worked at the Environmen-
tal Defense Fund (EDF) in their San Francisco oce.
Halla Hrund Logadóttir is the Co-founder and Co-Director of the Arctic
Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School where she also lectures on policy
and innovation for the changing Arctic. In Iceland, her home country,
Ms. Logadóttir serves on the advisory board to the Minister of Industry,
Innovation, and Tourism on Iceland’s Energy Fund and collaborates with
the country’s leadership on environmental and Arctic issues. She is the
Founder of the Arctic Innovation Lab; a platform established to encour-
age solution-based dialogue on Arctic challenges and an advisor to Arctic
Today, a key media on circumpolar issues. Previously, Ms. Logadóttir was
the director of the Iceland School of Energy at Reykjavík University where
she continues to lecture on energy policy.
Ms. Logadóttir is a frequent commentator on environment, energy, and
innovation within the Arctic. She was one of the 15 invited writers in
United Nations Chronicles special edition on sustainable energy published
in relation to COP21. In 2019 Ms. Logadóttir was selected as a Young
Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Marisol Maddox is an Arctic analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center in
Washington, DC, a nonresident research fellow at the Center for Climate &
Security, and a graduate student in International Security at George Mason
University. Her research considers the security implications of an opening
Arctic, the evolution of US strategy in the region, polar geopolitics, transna-
tional crime, climate change risk mitigation, and opportunities for enhanced
international collaboration on regenerative solutions to shared security
concerns.
vi Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Maddox received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with a
concentration in Ecosystems from Binghamton University in New York. She
spent several years studying organic regenerative agriculture and ecology,
and now combines her background in resilient systems design with the secu-
rity eld to foster policies that focus on long-term stability.
Frances A. Ulmer is a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative.
She has chaired the US Arctic Research Commission (USARC) since 2011,
and was a Special Advisor on Arctic Science and Policy at the State Depart-
ment from 2014-2017. Ms. Ulmer served as Chancellor of the University
of Alaska Anchorage, and previously Director of the Institute of Social
and Economic Research. In 2018, she was a visiting professor at Stanford
University.
Ms. Ulmer served as an elected ocial for 18 years as the mayor of Juneau,
a state representative, and as Lieutenant Governor of Alaska. She previ-
ously worked as legal counsel to the Alaska Legislature, legislative assistant
to Governor Jay Hammond and Director of Policy Development for the
state. She was the rst Chair of the Alaska Coastal Policy Council, co-chair
of the Aspen Institute’ s Commission on Arctic Climate Change, and cur-
rently chairs the Global Board of the Nature Conservancy.
viii Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Table of Contents
Introduction ........................................................................................1
Research Recommendations .....................................................................................................2
Learning from Other Regional Plans ..............................................4
Innovation and Working with Industry ............................................ 5
Policy Recommendations ...........................................................................................................6
Appendix 1: Plastic Pollution Case Studies ................................... 9
FROM THE GLOBE
Lessons Learned Developing a Regional Action Plan to Reduce Plastic Pollution;
Caribbean Environment Program Regional Action Plan for Marine Litter (RAPMaLi) ..........9
A Reusable Solution to Reducing Plastic Packaging Waste;
Algramo— A Private Sector Solution for a Circular Economy ............................................... 12
FROM THE ARCTIC
Managing Plastic Waste from Fisheries;
The Icelandic Recycling Fund ................................................................................................... 16
Creating a Model for more Sustainable Arctic Tourism;
AECO Clean Seas Program ......................................................................................................19
Innovation in Biomaterial Alternatives to Plastic;
Dr. Philippe Amstislavski, Rhizoform, LLC and University of Alaska Anchorage ..................24
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Appendix 2: Full Event Summary ................................................... 29
Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 29
Workshop Summary ................................................................................................................ 30
Opening Remarks ....................................................................................................... 30
Issue overview: What is the status of plastic pollution in the Arctic? .......................... 31
Thematic Session 1: Strategies in Monitoring: How is plastic pollution
being tracked and what are the current gaps in knowledge? ........................................33
Thematic Session 2: Mitigation Eorts at the Global Level: What are promising
case studies of plastic pollution mitigation globally that may be able to inform the
strategy for the Regional Action Plan? ............................................................................ 39
Thematic Session 3: Eorts in the Arctic that can be replicated or scaled up:
What are promising case studies of plastic pollution mitigation in the Arctic
that may be able to inform the strategy for the regional action plan?
How can these Arctic success stories be scaled up or replicated? .............................. 45
Thematic Session 4: Innovations and a path forward to Reykjavik: What are
science, technology and industry innovations that may be able to help us
address the challenge of plastic pollution? What solutions still need to be
developed? How could innovation be spurred through the regional action plan? ...... 49
Closing Session: What Has Been Learned? ............................................................. 52
Appendix 3: Thanks & Acknowledgements................................... 57
Plastic waste in the ocean.
Adobe Stock
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Introduction
October 2019 Workshop on Policy and
Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean
e Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative and the Wilson Centers Polar
Institute co-hosted a workshop with the Icelandic Chairmanship of
the Arctic Council at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
entitled, Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean. e event
convened global thought leaders, diverse stakeholders, and subject
matter experts to begin developing a framework for tackling Arctic
marine plastic pollution as one of the focus areas for the Icelandic
Chairmanship.
Is Arctic marine plastic pollution a problem?
e workshop revealed the massive scale of plastic consumption that
exists, with approximately 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic being
cumulatively produced as of 2017. ere has been rapid growth in
plastic production in recent years, with half of all plastic having been
produced in just the last 13 years, and 34 billion metric tons of plas-
tic expected to be produced by 2050. Litter is found across the Arctic
marine environment including shoreline, sea ice, sea surface and sub-
surface waters, water column, seaoor and sediments, and in the food
chain. An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean
worldwide every year, though only 1% of it has been accounted for.
is raises the question, where is all the plastic in the ocean?
Dierent categories of plastic debris include: macroplastics, mesoplas-
tics, microplastics, and nanoplastics. ese dierent types of debris
present challenges to a comprehensive understanding of the plastic
pollution issue because they disperse dierently in the environment
and in some cases have completely dierent trajectories, requiring dif-
ferent methodologies to study them eectively.
2Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
A lack of consensus on denitions of plastic marine debris categories
constitutes a second challenge to consistency across the eld, making a
common vocabulary and shared denitions benecial, especially for clar-
ity of comparative research. Despite gaps in knowledge about occurrence,
sources, transport, and the spectrum of impacts of plastic in the environ-
ment, we know enough that the plastic pollution problem is serious, and
that we must seize opportunities to address it.
Where does the plastic come from?
Plastic debris of all sizes comes from sea-based activities, land-based activ-
ities, riverine deposition, and through atmospheric transport. Sea-based
activities, particularly commercial shing, generate large quantities of
plastic debris in the Arctic marine environment, especially ghost gear (lost
or discarded shing gear). Other known sea-based sources include aqua-
culture, shipping, the oil and gas sectors, and ocean transport of debris
from outside the Arctic. Land-based sources of debris come from tour-
ism, extractive industries, inadequate water treatment plants (particularly
microplastics), lack of treatment plants, and poor landll management.
ere has also been documentation of atmospheric deposition of small
particles across vast distances. Signicant inputs of plastic debris enter the
Kara and Laptev Seas, which demonstrate the role of rivers as pathways for
litter, currently estimated to be about 2 million tons each year.
Research Recommendations
e problem of plastic pollution in the Arctic is suciently understood to
know it poses a risk to marine ecosystems. However, there are daunting gaps
in knowledge of the abundance and distribution of Arctic marine plastic
from these dierent sources. ese gaps can make it more challenging to
assess how to best target interventions. To ll these gaps there is a need for:
development of harmonized protocols and standardization of data
to measure trends over time in a consistent way that is conducive to
data sharing
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consistent monitoring throughout the year to account for seasonal
uctuations
establishment of baselines from which to measure progress
better data collection from certain parts of the Arctic Ocean region,
particularly the Central Arctic Ocean and coastal areas in Siberia,
Arctic Alaska, and Canada
increased sampling of snow on ice oes to improve estimates of
atmospheric transport of litter
seaoor sediment monitoring, since plastics of all sizes accumulate
there
identication of “hot spots”—areas of acute contamination with
greatest risk to wildlife and the marine ecosystem
improved use of satellite imagery to assess where ice forms and how
it moves, thereby providing information about where ice picks up
microplastics
further initiatives to develop remote sensing for detecting large
debris at sea, as well as sensors to detect plastics in the water
column that could be installed opportunistically on vessels
increased collaboration between Arctic communities and scientists
in community monitoring of plastic pollution
All those involved—scientists, politicians, industry leaders, communities,
indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, and other stake-
holders—should co-create solutions to the Arctic marine plastic pollution
problem within the context most appropriate for the given circumstances.
Prioritizing actions that can inform understanding about signicant sources
of plastic pollution emissions, and allow for monitoring and assessment of
policy interventions, may prove the most impactful given limited resources.
4Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Learning from Other
Regional Plans
e OSPAR Regional Action Plan and the Caribbean Regional Action Plan
oer models from which a Regional Action Plan for the Arctic can benet.
e OSPAR Plan combines national actions, recommendations, and 32
collective actions. Its success derives from relatively good data on pollution
sources and a commitment to measuring the eects of interventions, which
promotes engagement with sectors that are contributing to pollution issues.
Implementation of the Caribbean Plan demonstrates that such plans are
only as eective as local implementation capability and that communities
must have buy-in from the beginning. ose developing the regional plan
must communicate clearly with aected communities about the relevance
of the marine plastic pollution problem and seek their engagement in
building solutions.
An Arctic Regional Action Plan to address plastic pollution should draw
from the harmonized approach for marine litter monitoring modeled by
OSPAR; focusing on science that can establish a baseline of current plastic
pollution, and a foundation for collaborative science to enable eective
plastic pollution monitoring and intervention assessment going forward.
Like the Caribbean Plan, local knowledge must be integrated and commu-
nities should be recognized as integral parts of the intervention solution.
Recognizing that plastic pollution is a major transboundary concern within
the region, a plan should endeavor to couple unique approaches that work
locally with collaborative monitoring and collective action.
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Innovation and Working
with Industry
As with many challenges, prevention is key. It is signicantly easier and
more cost-eective to prevent plastic from entering the environment than
it is to clean it up. Partnering with industry and innovators to prevent
plastic from polluting the environment, to encourage the reuse of already
existing plastic materials, to reduce raw plastic consumption, and to ensure
better recyclability of new plastics products could begin to stem the ow of
plastics into the environment. At the October workshop presenters high-
lighted several promising partnerships and technologies toward that goal.
e Icelandic Recycling Fund (IRF) has found success in using nancial incen-
tives to increase the proper disposal of waste, including the explicit funding
of collection and recycling. e incentive is funded through a recycling fee on
products for producers and importers, which is a model that could be scaled
up or applied to other places in the Arctic. rough the IRF partnership with
the shing industry, shermen can return gear (such as nets and ropes) to
waste collection points without paying a fee. IRF then works with technology
partners to recycle the gear they collect. In order to build engagement from
shermen, IRF has found it benecial to communicate the risks that plastic
pollution poses to the health of sheries upon which their livelihoods depend.
is collaboration is a promising public/private partnership addressing one of
the signicant sources of sea-based plastic pollution in the Arctic.
Plastix, a Danish company, uses a circular economy model through increas-
ing the recyclability of plastic-based products like shing nets. Plastix has
overcome the challenge of recycling products that contain dierent polymers
through a process that breaks the products down into raw materials that can
be turned into new products. is is an example of a method that helps to
keep manufactured plastics in the value chain and out of the waste stream.
Cruise industry partnerships with local governments can leverage each
other’s strengths. For example, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise
Operators (AECO) has established a Clean Seas Project, which focuses on
dramatically reducing single-use plastics onboard expedition cruise vessels,
6Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
while educating and motivating passengers and crew to better understand
the negative impacts of plastic pollution on the sensitive Arctic marine
environment. AECO brings tourists to the Svalbard area who contribute
to debris removal eorts, while the Svalbard government retrieves the
aggregated waste that is collected so the cruise ship does not incur costs of
disposal. is is an example of how opportunistic trips to the Arctic could
be systematically leveraged to assist in debris recovery and removal, while
addressing a potential source for marine pollution through education and
intentional reduction of single-use plastics consumption.
Rhizoform, LLC is a bio-materials startup company that has developed a
mycelium-based packaging product substituts for polystyrene to insulate
shipments of sh, as well to insulate houses. is, and other bio-based
materials, oer fully biodegradable alternatives to plastic that could both
decrease the demand for new plastic as well as limit the amount of plastic
that Arctic communities have to process through waste management facili-
ties or as waste to be retrieved from the environment.
Drawing on innovators and industry to be part of the solution to the plastic
pollution problem oers a valuable multi-sector approach.
Policy Recommendations
e Arctic region is too diverse for a single set of solutions to the marine
plastic pollution problem. e Arctic Regional Action Plan should allow
for subregional and local eorts and communications campaigns tailored
to specic needs and capabilities. Local communities must co-develop
these eorts with incorporation of indigenous knowledge where relevant.
A Hackathon model could be used to gather interested community mem-
bers with partners to innovate and problem solve collectively. Increased
investment in innovative solutions that comie from Arctic residents to
address the reduction, reuse, recycling, and recovery of plastics could pro-
vide opportunities for regional leadership on this issue.
Keeping the importance of the local perspective in mind, the Arctic
Regional Action Plan can usefully employ the following strategies:
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promote awareness and understanding of the plastic pollution issue
through targeted communication and education eorts to increase
community engagement and solutions co-creation
convene industry to educate about economic and environmental
threats from plastic pollution and to generate reasonable and
realistic practices for plastic pollution mitigation
work with industry to develop and promote guidelines that reduce
plastic waste and address appropriate disposal, recycling, and reuse
of plastic materials
based on those guidelines, implement measures to reduce plastic
pollution from ships in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas, par-
ticularly lost and abandoned gear from shing vessels and plastic
waste from transport and tourist vessels
share information about promising projects already happening in
the Arctic region to enable those eorts to be scaled up
provide incentives for cross-sector collaboration to promote
synergy between dierent actors addressing the plastic pollution
problem
encourage more producer responsibility to account for manage-
ment of environmental costs associated with a product throughout
its life cycle, and decrease the use of plastics that cannot be recycled
promote nancial incentives to identify alternative packaging prod-
ucts, by using industry challenges, similar to the Defense Advanced
Research Project Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge
identify and fund research priorities to identify major contributors
to the waste stream and to measure impact of reduction strategies
enable researchers to coordinate, share data, and learn from each other
work with the Arctic Economic Council to develop an innovation
fund and to encourage circular economy model development from
production of raw materials to reclamation and reintegration of
spent materials into new products.
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Appendix 1: Plastic
Pollution Case Studies
FROM THE GLOBE
Lessons Learned Developing a Regional
Action Plan to Reduce Plastic Pollution;
Caribbean Environment Program Regional
Action Plan for Marine Litter (RAPMaLi)
By Brittany Janis
Like the Arctic, the Caribbean is home to an abundance of natural assets.
e waters of the Caribbean help provide food and income for those who
live in the region, and the pristine beaches and biodiverse rich ecosystems
attract tourists which account for an estimated 19% of the regional econ-
omy.1 Maintaining marine ecosystems is important for the health of the
people and economy of the Caribbean, making pollution prevention and
waste management a critical issue in most Caribbean States.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) “Sev-
enty to eighty-ve per cent of marine litter in the Caribbean Sea comes from
land, and most of it consists of plastics. Together with agrochemical run-o
and domestic wastewater, it is one of three priority pollutants for the wider
Caribbean region.2 In 2008, the rst Regional Action Plan for Marine Litter
(RAPMaLi ) for the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) was developed as a
project under the directive of the United Nations Environment Programme
(through its Regional Seas Program) in response to growing global concerns
of litter accumulation in the Caribbean marine environment. is Action
Plan was developed within the framework of the 1986 Cartagena Conven-
tion for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the
1 Thomas, Desmond, “The Caribbean Tourism Industry in the 21st Century: An Assessment”, Kimber-
ly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center, Florida International University, Working Paper No.
3/2015, https://lacc.fiu.edu/research/publications/lacc-working-paper-series/tourism-caribbe-
an-desmond-thomas-wp3-1.pdf
2 “The Caribbean addresses the scourge of plastic pollution”, UN Environment Programme,
June 19, 2019, https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/caribbean-address-
es-scourge-plastic-pollution
10 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Wider Caribbean Region and the Protocol on Land-Based Sources of Marine
Pollution which became legally binding in 2010. e RAPMaLi provided a
comprehensive toolkit to assist countries of the WCR and in particular small
island developing States (SIDS) to incorporate best practices in solid waste
management. It was designed to addresses the complex and interconnected
nature of the marine litter problem and outlined actions at the National and
Regional Level within ve thematic areas:
1. Legislation, policies and enforcement
2. Institutional framework and stakeholder engagement
3. Monitoring programs and research
4. Education and outreach
5. Solid waste management strategies3
Key to this eort was a focus on a regional approach, which promoted prob-
lem solving at the national and local levels, recognizing that unique regional
characteristics shape the kind of solutions that are most eective in a given
community and that pollution was a major transboundary concern for coun-
tries in the WCR. A series of pilot projects in places like Guyana, Barbados
and Saint Lucia allowed tactics outlined in the plan including monitoring,
governance, communication, capacity building & training to be developed
and tested in local communities. e Caribbean is not uniform in cultural
identity so nding unique approaches that work locally was key to enabling
uptake. A testament to the success of this approach was evidenced in the
increased level in participation of 20 countries in 2014, when the RAPMaLi
was updated, from 14 countries included in the original report.4
When updating RAPMaLi, the program relied on a variety of partners to
assess the progress that had been made, and revisions necessary to existing
recommendations. e Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN)
compiled data and conducted surveys and interviews with government
3 “Solid Waste and Marine Litter — Caribbean Environment Programme.” http://cep.unep.org/publi-
cations-and-resources/marine-and-coastal-issues-links/solid-waste-and-marine-litter
4 Corbin, Chris, Sanya Wedemier-Graham and Emily Franc, “Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter
Management (RAPMaLi) For the Wider Caribbean Region 2014”, UN Environment Programme,
November 2014, https://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/mar/mcbem-2014-03/other/mcbem-2014-
03-115-en.pdf
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representatives, non-governmental organizations and regional organizations
involved in marine litter monitoring and management. Critical to the devel-
opment of the RAPMaLi was the understanding of the broad ecosystem of
regulations, protocol, partnerships and players who were active in the marine
conservation space. e 2014 RAPMaLi update mapped “new or amended
institutional, legal and policy arrangements for the management of marine
litter at all levels, national legislation and policies; identication of govern-
ment, quasi government agencies and NGOs that work with national marine
litter problems; and existing national and regional monitoring programs on
marine litter.5 e update also enabled the plan to highlight a growing con-
cern in the region, microplastics, that had been absent from the 2008 version.
Working through existing partnerships like the Global Partnership on
Marine Litter, a voluntary open-ended partnership for international agencies,
governments, businesses, academia, local authorities and non-governmental
organizations hosted by UNEP6, through its Global Programme of Action to
address pollution from land-based sources and activities, the RAPMaLi was
able to be pull from a variety of lessons learned in nding innovative solu-
tions for the marine litter problem. Asking local people for feedback insured
the plan was continuing to build on the diverse voices of the Caribbean. It
also helped in the development of targeted education campaigns that focused
on messaging that resonates with local communities.
In February 2017, UNEP launched the Clean Seas campaign to engage gov-
ernments, the public, civil society and the private sector in the ght against
5 Corbin, Chris, Sanya Wedemier-Graham and Emily Franc, “Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter
Management (RAPMaLi) For the Wider Caribbean Region 2014”, UN Environment Programme,
November 2014, https://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/mar/mcbem-2014-03/other/mcbem-2014-
03-115-en.pdf
6 Clean Seas: Turn the Tide on Plastic, “About”, https://www.cleanseas.org/about
12 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
marine plastic litter, with a focus on reducing the production and consump-
tion of non-recoverable and single-use plastics. By April 2019 nine Caribbean
governments7 has signed onto that agreement. With that new initiative, on top
of many other successful campaigns to combat plastic pollution happening in
the region, e Cartagena Convention Secretariat/Caribbean Environment
Program is nalizing a third revision of RAPMaLi, which will result in an
implementation strategy, regional and national priority actions, targets and
indicators that will form the basis for new national and regional projects. e
following four strategic areas of focus have been identied:
Research and monitoring
Governance
Communication
Capacity building and training
Activities under research and monitoring and building on the experiences
of the OSPAR Commission has resulted in the development of a harmo-
nized approach for marine litter monitoring that will form the basis for
more informed policy and decision-making.
At the Policy and Action on Plastics in the Arctic Ocean Workshop, hosted
at the Harvard Kennedy School in October to 2019, Chris Corbin, Senior
Programme Ocer with the Ecosystems Division of the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP), emphasized the need to coordinate
among global eorts, while continuing to ensure that the challenge of
plastic pollution in the marine environment maintains a local focus, and
becomes a local issue, despite its global implications.
When thinking about developing a Regional Action Plan for the Arctic,
Corbin emphasized the importance of taking into account the many dif-
ferent communities, languages, and local contexts of the Arctic in order
to provide a plan that can be relevant, and still aspirational. He explained
“e goal of the regional body is to bridge the gap between global tools and
resources and local communities. “
7 The Caribbean addresses the scourge of plastic pollution”, UN Environment Programme,
June 19, 2019, https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/caribbean-address-
es-scourge-plastic-pollution
13
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
A Reusable Solution to Reducing Plastic
Packaging Waste;
Algramo— A Private Sector
Solution for a Circular Economy
By Brittany Janis
Jose Manuel Moller grew up in Chile to parents that believed in giving
back to their community. His parents founded a kindergarten for children
from underprivileged families, and as a child José Manuel and his siblings
volunteered in the social service programs his parents founded. is drive
to give back followed him to college at Ponticia Universidad Católica de
Chile (Catholic University of Chile), where he founded a student group,
InvolUCrate (Get Yourself Involved), which helped improve the conditions
of workers at the university and promoted the study of social innovation in
the business school.8
While in college, José Manuel began working on poverty in Chile. He
wanted to work side by side with the poorest families in the country, to
help them nd solutions to poverty and gain access to necessities. With
three of his college friends he moved to one of the poorest areas in Santi-
ago, located in the peri-urban community of La Granja, and began living
like those around him, trying to understand what was keeping people in
poverty. La Granja, like many low-income communities, faced serious
environmental justice concerns because of insucient waste management
which led to pollution.
José Manuel oversaw cooking for his household, and quickly realized there
was what he termed a poverty tax on basic essentials. Living on a lim-
ited budget like his neighbors, he was forced to buy products in smaller
portions, but these smaller portions came at a premium price. He and
his neighbors were excluded from economies of scale because low liquid-
ity meant they couldn’t aord the slightly higher price tag of bulk items,
even though there were more aordable per gram. is meant not only
higher prices for these communities that could not aord them, but also
8 Jose Manuel Moller”, 2014, https://www.ashoka.org/en-us/fellow/jose-manuel-moller
14 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
more waste and pollution in those same neighborhoods, since the smaller
portions of products came in small plastic satchels, which could be seen
littering the streets. is realization led him to design Algramo.
Algramo, which translates to “by the gram” is a company that distributes both
rellable returnable bottles and vending machines full of bulk staples which
oer products in small quantities in reusable containers across a network
stores. Brian Bauer, who works on the circular economy and strategic alliances
at Algramo explained; “When you buy in small formats, you pay from 30%
to 50% more for the product, depending on what the product is, and then in
doing that, you also produce a lot of packaging waste. at’s typically the type
of packaging waste thats most likely to escape into the environment because it’s
smaller format, and its also in low-resource areas where there aren’t very good
waste management systems in place. So theres a lot of that packaging that ends
up in the environment, ultimately, in oceans or other places it shouldn’t be.9
Algramo has grown rapidly since its founding in 2013. It operates in over
2,000 family owned stores that reach over 325,000 end-customers in Santi-
ago de Chile.10 eir business model has attracted the attention of a
number of large brands, including Unilever and Nestlé, which are currently
partnering with Algramo to pilot a mobile dispensing system that uses
electric tricycles to deliver products. ey are now looking to expand their
operations into new markets.
9 Peters, Adele, “This startup is ditching plastic waste by bringing the refills to you”, Fast Company,
October 14, 2019, https://www.fastcompany.com/90416401/this-startup-is-ditching-plastic-
waste-by-bringing-the-refills-to-you
10 Closed Loop Partners Invests in Algramo to Advance Aordable, Reusable Packaging Systems”,
October 14, 2019, https://www.closedlooppartners.com/closed-loop-partners-invests-in-al-
gramo-to-advance-aordable-reusable-packaging-systems/
15
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Key to the design of the company model is the idea of reuse. Algramo’s
smart packaging, equipped with RFID chips, which encourages consumers
to reuse the plastic packaging by oering a discount. Each time a customer
rells their existing container or bottle with product, they earn credit that
can be applied to future purchases. e more the packaging is used, the
more value it accrues. Once the containers reach the end of their life, they
can be traded in by shoppers for a new container — this deposit ensures
packaging goes back to Algramo, for recycling at end of life.
Algramo is currently experimenting with what threshold of discount is
necessary to attract a wider range of consumers and has landed on 30%.
Brands who partner with Algramo can meet these numbers, because they
also benet from reduced packaging costs and optimized logistics, since
they can focus on distribution of concentrates and bulk goods, rather than
lots of little bottles or bags. For Arctic communities where shipping costs
are a signicant portion of an items expense, a similar bulk vending solu-
tion could be attractive to both brands, distributors and consumers.
Reuse rates by customers have risen from around 10% when Algramo
began to more than 80% now11. By decoupling consumption from packag-
ing waste, Algramo has created less pollution. Particularly for communities
with expensive or insucient waste management this kind of solution
stops the problem at its source— single-use plastic waste. is also gives
communities with low liquidity easier access to bulk products since fami-
lies can buy the exact quantity of products they need with bulk prices. As
Algramo expands with new investments, it oers the opportunity for a
win-win-win solution, more aordable products for consumers, reduced
packaging and distribution costs for companies, and less plastic pollution
going into the environment.
11 Perella, Maxine, “Chilean Startup Eliminating Packaging Waste, ‘Poverty Tax’ in Latin American
Product Market”, Sustainable Brands, October 29, 2019, https://sustainablebrands.com/read/de-
fining-the-next-economy/chilean-startup-eliminating-packaging-waste-poverty-tax-in-latin-ameri-
can-product-market
16 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
FROM THE ARCTIC
Managing Plastic Waste from Fisheries;
The Icelandic Recycling Fund
By Katie Segal
Nearly 80 percent of all the plastic ever produced worldwide is sitting in
landlls or polluting the environment, and only nine percent has been
recycled.12 With plastic production projected to increase substantially over
the coming decades, it is crucial for governments to implement policy that
stems the ow of plastic waste and better manage disposal. Iceland has set a
global example for managing plastic pollution through the Icelandic Recy-
cling Fund, which aims to increase the proper disposal of waste through a
fee-based system. In October 2019, Olafur Kjartansson, managing director
of the Icelandic Recycling Fund, visited Harvard Kennedy School to par-
ticipate in a workshop titled “Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic
Ocean.” Mr. Kjartansson highlighted how the Fund is maintained as well as
its progress and challenges in reducing discarded shing gear, a major con-
tributor to marine plastic pollution.
e Fund’s goal is to provide a nancial incentive to increase waste collec-
tion and proper disposal. Producers and importers of specied products
are subject to a fee, and the Fund uses revenue from the fee to cover the
costs of environmentally responsible waste collection, disposal, and recy-
cling. A wide variety of waste categories are covered, from packaging waste
to used tires.13 e Fund is a governmental organization operating under
the Icelands Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources but
maintains a board of directors with representatives from other stakeholder
groups, including industry and municipal governments. It was estab-
lished in 2003 aer conversation between the Icelandic government and
waste-producing industries and stakeholders.
12 Geyer, Roland, et al. “Production, Use, and Fate of All Plastics Ever Made.Science Advances, vol. 3,
no. 7, July 2017, p. e1700782. advances.sciencemag.org, doi:10.1126/sciadv.1700782.
13 No author listed. Waste Management—National Reports: Iceland. UN Sustainable Development,
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/dsd/dsd_aofw_ni/ni_pdfs/National-
Reports/iceland/waste.pdf.
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Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
In Iceland and around the world, shing gear constitutes a signicant
portion of plastic debris, which oen ends up contaminating the marine
environment. Approximately ten percent of global marine plastic pollu-
tion comes from “ghost gear,” or discarded shing equipment, according
to a report from UNEP and FAO.14 Icelands economy depends on healthy
marine sheries and a strong shing industry, with over 1.3 million tons
of catch from the Icelandic shing eet in 2018, and an estimated 1,300+
tons of shing nets. When developing the Icelandic Recycling Fund’s
approach to tackling shing gear, Iceland engaged in discussions with Fish-
eries Iceland and local producers of shing nets, so that the policy could
incorporate the needs of these critical stakeholders. e owners of sh-
ing trawlers were willing to claim responsibility for used shing nets and
ensure proper disposal. Mr. Kjartansson sees this as a positive arrangement
because experts onboard the boats are familiar with handling such nets,
and therefore can manage nets more eciently than a third-party waste
management company. e Icelandic Recycling Fund maintains a volun-
tary agreement with the shing industry, allowing them to return gear
(such as nets and ropes) to waste collection points without a fee.15e fund
then works with technology partners to recycle the gear.
Mr. Kjartansson noted some indicators of the Icelandic Recycling Fund’s
success in reducing the amount of shing gear lost at sea. First, he cited an
increased awareness of the importance of handling nets properly among
shing companies. Second, the Fisheries Iceland mentions their system of
shing net collection in their environmental declaration, indicating that
the associations members—and other shing industry stakeholders—see
the benets of collecting nets. Fishing gear is expensive, so cost is a major
factor motivating companies to prevent loss of shing gear.
While collecting nets is critical for preventing pollution of the marine envi-
ronment, it unfortunately does not guarantee that the nets can be recycled
once they have reached land. Materials used to make shing nets stronger
and more durable oen make them less recyclable. e recycling process
14 United Nations Environment Program, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations. Abandoned, Lost, or Otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear. http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/
user_upload/newsroom/docs/Ghost_fishing_report.pdf.
15 Mengo, Elena, and Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science. A Review of Marine
Litter Management Practices for the Fishing Industry in the North-East Atlantic Area: Report for
OSPAR Action 36: To Develop Best Practices in the Fishing Industry. 2 01 7.
18 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
requires that component plastic materials are separated, but modern sh-
ing nets combine multiple types of plastic, making it dicult for recyclers
to separate the materials for processing. is disconnect between produc-
tion and disposal highlights the importance of producer participation at
every phase of the policy discussion. It is not enough for shing net pro-
ducers to simply pay a fee—a truly circular economy will require shing
net producers to take on more responsibility by modifying production
practices and ensuring the product can be disposed of responsibly at the
end of its useful life. e Icelandic Recycling Fund applies economic incen-
tives to establish practical arrangements for processing waste, which means
providing the monetary prerequisites so that businesses in the market will
realize the benet of involving themselves in the processing program. is
has led to promising collaborations with waste processors, recycling com-
panies, and net producers which has the potential to address the recycling
challenges common with shing nets.
As shery conditions evolve in Iceland, so does the type of shing gear
used. In recent years, total catch has declined signicantly as the quality of
the shery changes. e composition of sh has also changed (for example,
Icelands waters have seen fewer herring recently). Additionally, there is less
demand for catching a large quantity of sh at once, and more demand for
catching fewer, higher-quality sh. ese shis have led to a change in the
types and quantities of shing gear in use. e Icelandic Recycling Fund
and similar initiatives must stay aware of industry trends and update waste
reduction policies accordingly.
Although there is still progress to be made, the Icelandic Recycling Fund
has been largely successful in targeting waste disposal across an array of
categories, including shing gear. Other governments can look to Iceland
as an example when developing their own recycling fund or a similar
policy. Mr. Kjartansson emphasized that the Icelandic Recycling Fund
can serve as a model for other countries seeking to manage recyclable
waste. He has observed a positive shi in attitudes as a result of the Fund’s
success, and a growing awareness of the importance of responsible waste
management. Creating similar policy elsewhere is one step towards a more
sustainable economy and a healthier environment.
19
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Creating a Model for more Sustainable
Arctic Tourism;
AECO Clean Seas Program
By Brittany Janis
e Arctic is an increasingly popular tourism destination. e number
of expedition cruise ships operating in the Arctic is on the rise, and new
groups of travelers are discovering this region. Expedition cruising in
the Arctic gives tourists an opportunity to visit regions of unique natural
beauty and experience local communities that have coexisted with nature
for millennia. For many visitors, a trip to the Arctic is an opportunity
to reect on some of the environmental challenges that impact both the
Artic region and on a global level. In order to oer a sustainable travel
experience, it is critical that cruise activities consider minimize their envi-
ronmental impact and how they can play a role in being good stewards of
the environment. In addition, expedition cruise operators are in a position
to educate guests and nd ways that tour operators and tourists in the
Arctic can give back to the region that they visit.
e Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) is an
international association for expedition cruise operators operating in the
Arctic and others with interests in this industry. It was founded in 2003
and has since become an important organization representing the concerns
and views of Arctic expedition cruise operators. AECO considers part of
its mission to be “managing responsible, environmentally friendly and safe
tourism in the Arctic”. AECO strives to set the highest possible operating
standards for their members, with the understanding that Arctic tourism
depends on maintaining Arctic ecosystems and landscapes.
For nearly two decades, members of AECO have been engaged in cleanup
activities in the Arctic and witnessed the growing amount of garbage
that oats ashore on these beaches. is fostered a discussion on how the
industry as a whole could contribute more. In 2018, AECO decided to step
up the associations eorts to combat marine plastic pollution by launching
AECO’s Clean Seas Project. e project includes four main objectives:
20 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
1. Signicantly reduce the use of single-use plastics onboard expedi-
tion cruise vessels;
2. Enhance cleanup eorts in the Arctic;
3. Educate and motivate passengers, sta and crew; and
4. Share knowledge and best practices.
is project is supported by the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund
and the Norwegian Environmental Directorate. In addition, donations
have been received from Ship to Shore and Cheesemans’ Ecology Safa-
ris. AECO has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United
Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and is contributing
to #CleanSeas, a UN-led campaign to combat marine plastic pollution.
At the time of the projects launch, Frigg Jørgensen, Executive Director of
AECO remarked; Our ambition is to change peoples attitude towards dis-
posable plastics. We want to show people that there are good alternatives to
things like plastic straws and plastic packaging. It’s not too late to tackle the
issue of plastic marine debris, but we have to act now.16
AECO’s members showed a strong support and willingness to address sin-
gle-use plastic onboard their vessels. Internal surveys of AECO members
concluded that 90% of respondents listed the reduction of single-use plastic
as a high priority. In order to develop best practices to help reduce plastics
consumption on expedition cruise ships, AECO needed to inventory the
common waste generated by ships and identify plastic free alternatives
or other non-disposable replacements. AECO grew its team and hired an
environmental agent to manage the Clean Seas project, which included
visiting and monitoring member-cruise vessels sailing in Svalbard, to col-
lect and systematize data on current plastic use and disposal. AECO’s rst
environmental agent, Sarah Auret, noted of these ship visits; “When I
visit ships to assess how much disposable plastic is in use, it oen opens
up a very productive discussion on what they are using and what they can
do better”17.In 2020, AECOs current Environmental Specialist, Melissa
Nacke, plans the conduct further assessments onboard vessels.
16 “AECO to Combat Marine Plastic Litter”, Association of Arctic Cruise Operators, April 23, 2018,
https://www.aeco.no/2018/04/aeco-to-combat-marine-plastic-litter/
17 “Arctic Cruise with Less Plastic and More Beach Clean-ups”, Association of Arctic Cruise Operators, July
9, 2018, https://www.aeco.no/2018/07/arctic-cruise-with-less-plastic-and-more-beach-cleanups/
21
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
AECO members are currently rethinking their facilities and adapting their
products. For example, they are installing water and soap dispensers, pro-
viding reusable products, like water bottles, removing single-use items and
requiring products from suppliers to come in dierent packaging. e
main challenges faced by member ships included a lack onboard storage
space, availability of alternative goods in ports, and cost of alternative
products/facilities. AECO began working with members to address these
challenges by identifying availability of alternatives for commonly used
plastic items and assessing strategies to improve waste reception facilities at
relevant ports. As operators evolve their approach to plastic consumption,
AECO is currently working to developing a suite of recommendations and
best practices to further reduce plastic use on ships. ese best practices
and innovative solutions could also be applied to other ship-based indus-
tries as well as land-based industries, such as hotels. and develop best
practices, which will be applicable to a wider audience.
Figure 1
2018 reported cleanup eorts for Clean Up Svalbard Project—green dots represent AECO member clean ups.
While targeting the ways their members’ ships operate, AECO also focused
on inuencing the tourists who were traveling with them to reduce plas-
tics coming into the region and onto the ships. In May of 2019, AECO
launched its Clean Seas Guidelines for Visitors to the Arctic. e guide-
lines provide travelers with information on responsible solutions for
reducing their waste and plastic footprint before, during and aer their
trip. e guidelines were developed in collaboration with AECOs sister
22 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
organization, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators
(IAATO), who created equivalent guidelines targeted at visitors to Antarc-
tica. e guidelines include recommendations to travelers packing reusable
items such as water bottle and reusable cutlery, discouraging throwing any
non-organic items in the toilet and ensuring all belongings are well secured
when ashore or on deck. Now travelers who are coming to the Arctic with
an AECO member expedition vessel are given these guidelines before
coming, so they can preemptively plan for a reduced plastics vacation.
In addition to developing best practices for their members’ eets to reduce
their plastic waste, they are also nding ways enhance cleanup eorts of
Arctic beaches by engaging tourists in cleaning up plastic pollution. In
cooperation with the Governor of Svalbard, AECO-members have joined
the Clean Up Svalbard project. When AECO members bring passengers
ashore to get closer experiences of fauna, ora and geological formations
they now have the additional opportunity to make a dierence by partic-
ipating in a beach clean-up, which, gives their trip a dierent meaning.
AECO has published Clean Up Svalbard Guidelines, which include infor-
mation on how visitors can contribute and participate in cleanup activities.
AECO collects information about cleanup activities, including the loca-
tion and amount of waste, and inputs this data into the Clean Up Svalbard
report form, which has allowed for increased data on the origin, compo-
sition and distribution of plastic pollution found on Svalbard beaches.
Engaging visitors in citizen science activities to improve understanding of
the plastic pollution problem. e Governor of Svalbard support the safe
disposal of plastic waste collected, which is crucial to the success of the
Clean Up Svalbard project. AECO also participates in research eorts like
the SALT Deep Dive Workshops and Akvaplan-niva MALINOR Project,
both of which strive to map marine litter locations as well as types and
engage tourists in citizen science eorts to combat plastic pollution. ese
eorts also have support that makes participation by AECO members pos-
sible. Supporting partnerships like this will be critical to scaling similar
eorts.
e Clean Seas Guidelines and other educational materials that have been
developed by AECO can be used outside of the expedition cruise industry,
23
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
but they aren’t being used yet. e challenges expedition vessels face are
similar to those faced by larger cruise operators as they begin to expand
their services in the region. Sharing of best practices and lists of alternative
products (which AECO is currently developing) could help the increasing
tourism industry in the Arctic engage in more sustainable visits. Clean
up eorts can also be scaled up with the support and partnership of local
government. As the tourism industry in the Arctic grows, and more cruise
ships enter the region, having sustainable practices will be critical to main-
taining the Arctic ecosystems that attract visitors. AECO’s work has begun
to establish practices that reduce plastic pollution, how to scale these
eorts remains that opportunity and the challenge.
24 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Innovation in Biomaterial Alternatives to
Plastic;
Dr. Philippe Amstislavski, Rhizoform,
LLC and University of Alaska Anchorage
By Marisol Maddox
Dr. Philippe Amstislavski is an Associate Professor of Public Health at the
University of Alaska Anchorage and the co-founder of Rhizoform, LLC,
a biomaterials startup company that focuses on the use of fungi-based
materials to replace polystyrene. Rhizoform seeks to provide a biomate-
rial alternative to polystyerene, with an initial focus on two specic and
common uses: material insulation in boxes used to ship frozen sh, and as
insulation in housing.
Dr. Amstislavski spent 20 years working in public health, during which
time he identied garbage dumps as a particular management challenge for
rural areas of the Arctic (specically Russia and Alaska). Polystyrene is not
recycled in Alaska and in most of the Arctic, and with limited waste man-
agement services this plastic typically is discarded in open dumps. Because
the waste is not well-contained, lightweight plastics end up being blown
from dumps to the tundra and into the larger environment. Since subsis-
tence shing and hunting activities are critically important to food security
and cultures of the Arctic, Dr. Amstislavski’s motivating concern was in
regards to the cumulative eects that plastic contamination might have on
the quality of drinking water and traditional food sources.
While in graduate school Dr. Amstislavski studied human exposure to dust
particles smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), a known concern for human
health. Little is known, however, about the human health implications of
exposure to micro and nano-plastic particles. It is now recognized that
plastic particles smaller than 2.5 microns have the ability to cross cellular
membranes and enter living tissues. Unlike larger plastic debris, micro and
nano-plastics can accumulate intra-cellularly and deliver adsorbed toxins
directly into cells. e large surface areas of these minute plastic pieces
allow for the transport of toxins and pathogenic bacteria and viruses to
25
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
novel environments, as these particles can be carried across signicant
distances. Dust particles from the Sahara Desert, for example, have been
shown to travel over 5,000 miles to the Southeastern United States. is
long-range transport is a possible vector for toxins and bacteria that have
found their way into salmon habitats. One example is Aeronomas salmoni-
cida, a bacterium which causes skin sickness and mortality of salmon, that
has been found to travel on microplastics.
rough the development of his mycelium-based packaging, Dr. Amstislavski
is seeking to reduce the amount of plastic that enters the environment and
potentially impacts human health. Market analysis has shown that over one
million insulated boxes travel through Alaska every year, so associated polysty-
rene use is signicant. Kodiak, AK is the third largest seafood processing port
in North America, and it uses a signicant amount of polystyrene for insulat-
ing frozen sh that is shipped across the globe.
e mycelium-based packaging material being developed by Dr. Ams-
tislavski’s team at Rhizoform has a thermal insulating ability that is on par
with that of polystyrene. Research has shown that the mycelium-based
insulated boxes can keep the sh or other seafood frozen for over 24 hours
while it is shipped to consumers due to mycelium’s ability to trap air inside
the box walls.
Cellulose can be used as a source of nitrogen for growing mycelium in a
lab, but there is the potential to use other materials, such as sh industry
waste, to better capture opportunities within a circular economy model.
26 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Bio-materials and bio-design, in the form of kayaks and parkas among
many other examples, already have an established history amongst Arctic
indigenous peoples who have inhabited the region for thousands of years.
Like those materials, when a mycelium-based packaging product has run
its course it can be buried, as it is fully biodegradable and able to integrate
into a forest ecosystem.
e use of biomaterials as insulation for sh served as a launching pad
for the idea to scale the product up, and use it as insulation in retrotting
houses in Alaska; thereby creating another specic opportunity to replace
environmentally persistent polystyrene with a biodegradable material.
Challenges to innovation in the materials sector for the Arctic include
decits in available funding, resources, infrastructure, personnel, and
equipment. Dr. Amstislavski has found this is especially challenging in
regard to the potential for scaling up facilities to expand production capac-
ity to a volume that makes the product cost competitive for industry.
Dr. Amstislavski was awarded a 2020-21 Fulbright to collaborate with
a leading biomaterials team at VTT-Finland in Tampere to develop
non-plastic insulation, which will further contribute to the development of
biomaterials technology.
In this new era of disruptive climate change, concepts such as this one oer
important alternatives to environmentally persistent and fossil fuel inten-
sive products such as polystyrene. While lowering the carbon footprint of
27
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
shipping, biomaterials such as the mycelium-based insulation also allow
for the prevention of contamination of the environment, food chain, and
human health.
29
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Appendix 2: Full Event Summary
Policy & Action on Plastic
in the Arctic Ocean Workshop
Oct. 30 & 31, 2019
Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center
Introduction
Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative and the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute
co-hosted a workshop with the Icelandic Chairmanship in late October at
the Harvard Kennedy School of Government entitled, Policy and Action
on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean. e event convened global thought leaders,
diverse stakeholders, and subject matter experts to begin developing a
framework for tackling Arctic plastic pollution.
Iceland has chosen to highlight the issue of plastic debris in the Arctic
Ocean—a growing challenge for the region—as one of the focus areas
during its Chairmanship of the Arctic Council from 2019–2021. e pri-
mary goal of the workshop at Harvard was to identify key questions to be
addressed in order to eectively implement solutions to the serious plastic
pollution problem.
Grounding the conversation in the latest science on sources and concentra-
tions of plastic pollution, the workshop gave participants an opportunity to
explore dierent policy levers and innovations that can shape a successful
strategy. Drawing on promising case studies from the Arctic and beyond,
the workshop considered solutions to the plastic pollution problem
that could be deployed in a way that leverages local knowledge and new
technology.
is workshop served as a precursor to—and provided input to—the 2020
Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Region, organized by the
Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
30 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Workshop Summary
Opening Remarks
David Balton, Senior Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Center
Halla Hrund Logadóttir, Co-founder and Co-Director, Arctic Initiative at
Harvard Kennedy School
Purpose of the workshop is to address how the work of each panel-
ist is part of the puzzle of identifying the scope of the Arctic marine
plastic pollution issue, and how it might best be addressed through
policy.
Magnús Jóhannesson: e priorities of Iceland’s 2019-2021 Chairmanship
of the Arctic Council
With sustainable development as an overarching theme, Iceland
is highlighting four priorities: e Arctic Marine Environment,
Climate and Green Energy Solutions, People and Communities of
the Arctic, and a Stronger Arctic Council.1
Iceland seeks to address two main questions at this workshop:
1. Of the issues involving plastic pollution in the Arctic
marine environment, which are the most pressing?
2. Where would be the most impactful place for Iceland
to begin addressing this problem? Plastic is ubiquitous, so
addressing this issue will require a society-wide eort, but
where is a good place to begin? Ambition and reality must
be balanced, with a focus on the origins of plastic pollution
in the ocean, including inadequate wastewater treatment,
solid waste management, mining, aquaculture, tourism, and
the like.
1 Arctic Council. “Iceland’s Chairmanship 2019-2021.https://arctic-council.org/index.php/en/
about-us/arctic-council/iceland-chairmanship
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e PAME desktop study on Marine Litter shows the Arctic Ocean
is unusual in regard to origins of litter. Whereas worldwide marine
litter originates largely from land-based sources, in the Arctic
most plastic pollution is believed to be generated from sea-based
activities related to sheries, aquaculture, and shipping (including
tourism).2
Iceland seeks a strong, evidence-based analysis of the Arctic marine
plastic pollution issue, since appropriately understanding sources
of pollution will be key to addressing the problem and developing
consensus on appropriate policy and action.
Issue overview: What is the status of
plastic pollution in the Arctic?
Moderator: Hrönn Jörundsdóttir, Ph.D., director of Matís Depart-
ment of Food safety and analytical service.
Jenna Jambeck, Ph.D., National Geographic Fellow & Associate
Professor, College of Engineering, University of Georgia
Elizabeth McLanahan, Director of NOAA Oce of International
Aairs, Senior Advisor to the NOAA Administrator, PAME Vice
Chair
Jenna Jambeck presented the latest research on plastic pollution in the
marine environment, revealing the massive scale of plastic consumption
to the tune of 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic cumulatively produced as
of 2017. ere is projected rapid growth in plastic production, which is
estimated to reach 34 billion metric tons by 2050.3 79% of plastic that has
already been produced has ended up in the environment or in landlls
and 8 million metric tons are estimated to enter the oceans annually.4 One
question stands out: where is that 8 million metric tons of annual material
ending up?
2 “Desktop Study on Marine Litter including Microplastics in the Arctic. PAME. May 2019 https://
www.pame.is/images/03_Projects/Arctic_Marine_Pollution/Litter/Desktop_study/Desktop_
Study_on_marine_litter.pdf
3 Geyer, Jambeck, Law, Science Advances, 2017.
4 Jambeck et al., Science, 2015.
32 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
ere are three categories of plastic debris: macroplastics, microplastics,
and nanoplastics, which disperse dierently in the environment. e three
categories present challenges to a comprehensive understanding of the
plastic pollution issue because dierent monitoring methodologies are nec-
essary for identifying dierent sizes of marine debris.
Import and export of plastics is problematic since it is expensive and di-
cult to remove waste from rural areas. e Arctic has a lower than average
volume of imported materials, though Sweden is an outlier in the amount
of waste it imports. A critical question is, how can demand for plastic be
reduced? Where are opportunities to decouple economic growth from
waste generation?
Plastic litter found throughout the Arctic ecosystem has numerous known
harmful impacts, including entanglement of mammals and birds, as well
as animal ingestion of plastic with ecological and ecotoxicological impacts
that are still not well understood. A recent desktop study published PAME,
presented by Elizabeth McLanahan, shows that given the scale of the
problem, there are still big questions about occurrence, sources, transport,
and impact of plastic in the Arctic environment.
Studying the Arctic coastal and marine environment is a challenge due
to extreme weather conditions and vast distances between communities.
Additionally, lack of harmonization of methods and reporting of results
is an obstacle to a comprehensive comparison of studies and monitoring
initiatives. Citizen science programs have been a helpful source of data, for
example the use of the phone app, Marine Debris Tracker.
Plastic pollution in the Arctic is known to be derived from sources both
local and afar. However, further studies are needed to better understand
specic inputs, distribution, and fate of marine litter. e mobile nature of
plastic in a marine environment dominated by strong currents that travel
vast distances can make attribution a challenge. However, beach studies
show that shing gear is potentially the largest contributor by mass. Other
sea-based sources are known to derive from aquaculture, shipping, and
oil and gas sectors. Ghost gear—discarded or lost shing gear that ends
up in the marine environment—is a major source of marine debris in the
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Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Greenland, Bering, Barents, and Norwegian Seas. is is a particularly
deadly form of plastic pollution as the gear entangles sh and marine
mammals without a human to harvest or free them. Land-based sources of
debris are likely from tourism activities, extractive industries, water treat-
ment plants (particularly microplastics), the lack of treatment plants, and
poor landll management.
Determining the extent of the impact of plastic on the Arctic environment
is challenging with a lack of comprehensive monitoring in the region. e
Arctic Council’s Regional Action Plan will focus on identifying actions
for prevention, reduction, and removal of litter, as well as monitoring,
research needs, and education. Despite the lack of comprehensive knowl-
edge, enough is known that demonstrates the plastic pollution problem is
serious, and opportunities must be seized to address it. In order to address
the problem inclusively, solutions should be co-created among scientists,
politicians, industry, communities, indigenous peoples, non-governmental
organizations, and other stakeholders, within the context most appropriate
for the given circumstances.
Thematic Session 1: Strategies in Monitoring:
How is plastic pollution being tracked and
what are the current gaps in knowledge?
Moderator: Soa Guðmundsdóttir, Executive Secretary, PAME
Jennifer Provencher, Wildlife Health Unit Head, Canadian Wild-
life Service
Melanie Bergmann, Senior Deep-Sea Researcher, Alfred Wegener
Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (attend-
ing virtually)
Nancy Wallace, Director, NOAA Marine Debris Program
Tiina Kurvits, Project Manager, Grid-Arendal
34 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Jennifer Provencher discussed research on plastic ingestion by seabirds
from the 1980s to the present in the Arctic, particularly in the North Sea,
largely overcoming the tyranny of distance through collaboration with
Inuit communities, hunters, and citizen scientists. Northern fulmars, birds
that feed at the ocean surface, are particularly vulnerable to plastic inges-
tion. Research shows there has never been a northern fulmar sampled that
did not have some amount of plastic in its stomach. e development of
harmonized protocols and standardization of data is critical to measur-
ing relevant trends over time. AMAP is interested in understanding these
trends, and in fulmars as the best available monitoring tools.
Cooperation and coordination among Arctic Council working groups
is important as three of them have mandates to address plastics: CAFF
(AMBI), PAME, and AMAP. e ability to discern the ecacy of measures
taken to address the plastic pollution problem is important. While a pris-
tine environment does not include plastic, there is value in determining
current baselines of debris so progress of interventions can be monitored.
Due to the circulation of global wind and ocean currents, understanding
contamination in the Arctic environment is an important part of under-
standing contaminants at the global scale.
Tiina Kurtis spoke about GRID-Arendal’s work with PAME in the devel-
opment of the Desktop Study noted above. e study found that marine
litter in the Arctic comes from human activities both inside and outside
the region, with sheries and sea-based activities contributing signicantly
to the plastic pollution problem. Additional sea-based sources include
aquaculture, passenger and commercial shipping, and oil and gas explo-
ration activities. Land-based sources in the Arctic are thought to not be as
important contributors of debris, in contrast to most other regions of the
world, however, deciencies in waste and wastewater management systems
in coastal Arctic communities do create localized hotspots for discharge of
debris and there are still data gaps, especially from the Russian Arctic.
e Arctic acts as a reservoir for plastics from the parts of the world, but
the proportion of litter from distant sources is dicult to gauge against
local sources. Sources include:
35
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Oceanic Transport—Regional circulation and currents and trans-
polar sea-ice dri.
Riverine Transport—Several large rivers drain into the Arctic
Ocean but their contributions to marine litter in the Arctic needs
further research. e populations in the Ob, Yenisey, and Lena
watersheds, which extend beyond the boundaries of the Arctic, is
around 38 million people, which is an order of magnitude larger
than the population of the entire Arctic region.
Atmospheric Transport— ere is a big research gap with no cur-
rent studies being able to quantify plastics from long-range winds,
and other air-based vectors.
Biological Transport—rough ingestion and entanglement, biota
contribute to the redistribution of litter within and across the Arctic
marine environment.
Knowledge of the distribution of marine litter in the Arctic is geographi-
cally skewed towards regions of concentrated human activity, including the
Barents, Bering, and Norwegian Seas. Far less data is available for the Cen-
tral Arctic Ocean and coastal areas in Siberia, Arctic Alaska, and Canada.
Marine litter is found across the Arctic marine environment including
shoreline, sea ice, sea surface and subsurface waters, water column, seaoor
and sediments, and in the food chain. e coastline and seaoor accumu-
late the largest items. ere are hotspots where shorelines accumulate high
volumes of debris. e seaoor has been identied as an important sink for
plastics, including microplastics.
ere is concern about socioeconomic impacts of plastic pollution on
sheries and aquaculture sectors, tourism, traditional values, and cultural
practices. Impacts to sheries, for example, could include reduced quality
of sh or changes in stocks. Tourism may be aected as plastic pollution
does not mesh with the pristine image people have of the Arctic. To date,
no economic assessment has been made of the cost of plastic litter to these
sectors. is would be a valuable assessment to have in order to further
make the case for policy intervention.
36 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
ere are no formal, consistent monitoring programs that cover all sources,
pathways, types, and impacts of marine litter. Developing a monitoring
program, including traditional ecological knowledge, in parallel with the
development of a Regional Action Plan on marine litter in the Arctic, could
help further knowledge and assess ecacy of measures taken to address
the problem.
rough a deep-sea towed camera system, Melanie Bergmann and her
team have observed a portion of the sea oor in the Fram Strait annually
since the 1990s. In fewer than 15 years they have documented a more than
23-fold increase in the amount of plastic debris in the area of study. ere
was a signicant increase in seaoor debris (majority plastic, some glass,
and other materials) from 2001-2015, including an increase in smaller
debris which could be an indication of fragmentation of materials.
Approximately 8 million tons of plastic debris enter the ocean every year
and 2 million tons are estimated to enter from rivers.5 Currently it is only
known where about 1% of plastic debris is ending up, which represents a
massive gap in knowledge, and begs the question: Where is all the plastic?
Temporal trends can be developed through repeated measurements and
sustained data collection. Ice core concentrations of microplastics have
been found to be very high. Satellite imagery can be used as an analytic
tool to assess where ice formed and how it has moved, thereby providing
information about where the microplastics were picked up by the ice. ere
are known to be signicant inputs of plastic debris from the Kara and
Laptev Seas, which demonstrate the role of rivers as pathways for litter.
Atmospheric transport of litter could be better assessed by studying snow
on Arctic ice oes, as there have been very high amounts of plastics in
snow samples. e seaoor is another place where monitoring would be
helpful, as plastic pollution becomes incorporated into the seaoor sedi-
ment over time. More than 6,000 microplastic particles have been found
per kilogram of dry sediment, as well as over 300 times more macroplastics
debris than at the sea surface.
5 Lebreton et al.
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Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Nancy Wallace discussed NOAAs Marine Debris Program (MDP), which
is thelead for the federal government of the United States on this topic.
MDP focuses on reducing the impacts of marine debris through funding
removal projects, working on preventing debris from entering the envi-
ronment, researching impacts of debris, and conducting country-wide
monitoring, including positioning sta to work with local partners to
understand site-specic litter challenges. Opportunistic research projects
are limited though by the short eld season in Alaska. Partnerships with
local communities, indigenous peoples, and other agencies have been
found to be crucial for gathering data on remote locations. In some iden-
tied hotspots in Alaska, there have been 120 microplastics per kilogram
of sand which is tremendous, given the 100 microplastics per kilogram of
sand that has been found at the densely populated National Harbor outside
of Washington, DC.
e St. Paul Aleut community has been hosting beach cleanups since
1998 and they use unmanned aerial systems to detect debris. e Pribilof
Islands are hotspots for marine debris, having the second highest average
concentration in the Arctic, with approximately 70% of debris estimated
to be vessel related. For further research there should be increased coop-
eration and coordination of eorts amongst Arctic states. Core collection
needs should be identied and prioritized as the range of research needs is
vast. Assessing the composition of debris is a useful tool for ascertaining
the source. It would be useful to oer comparisons of quantity and com-
position of debris found within the Arctic region and outside of it, as well
as how those specic types may change as activity in the Arctic increases.
Large gaps in knowledge and data could be lled by engaging more with
indigenous communities as well as Russia.
Key Questions in Discussion
What is the right balance of time/energy/investment in data gathering vs.
making the case that the known amount of plastic is already suciently
problematic to warrant action? What aspects of the impact of plastic pollu-
tion will appeal with the general public to garner support for action?
38 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
One success story emerged from the Pacic Northwest, where citi-
zen scientists found tiny yellow plastic debris and traced it back to
oyster culture farms in the region. Because of this specic data, the
oyster farms were approached directly and undertook steps to make
appropriate changes to their practices; no political intervention was
necessary.
How are seasonal uctuations in water column content handled? How high
is condence in representation of current samples?
ere is less seasonal uctuation in seaoor samples than in shal-
lower waters, but there is not enough data from dierent seasons to
ascertain specic variations in trends. Most data are collected in the
warmer months when scientists have access to the region.
ere is a need to move beyond opportunistic sampling and
identify locations where active monitoring could be most valuable.
It is important to think critically and strategize where to prioritize
standardized monitoring and evaluation.
Are the origins of the plastics from Dr. Bergmann’s studies known?
Origins are dicult to pinpoint, but there is potential of transport
through winds (see cyclical graphic from her presentation. Referred
to records of pollen from trees traveling from Central Europe to
Arctic within 3 days as a model for how microplastics and nano-
plastics may be transported. Shows that particle transport through
air is an important source).
What is the potential of undisclosed military and industry sources to be
impacting local communities (e.g., in the McKenzie River watershed)?
ere is over a thousand miles of oil and gas infrastructure in
Alaska right now. As industries bring people and equipment into
the region, they need plans for bringing waste out so as to reduce
the burden on local waste management. Recommend working
with industry to discuss this issue. Pipelines rely heavily on
plastics, and there are issues with aging infrastructure.
39
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Recommendation to explore potential for behavioral changes in
regard to activities that release microplastics and a transition to a
circular economy model.
Regional partnerships will be important for nding appropriate,
place-based solutions as opposed to a one size ts all approach.
Thematic Session 2: Mitigation Eorts at the Global
Level: What are promising case studies of plastic
pollution mitigation globally that may be able to
inform the strategy for the Regional Action Plan?
Moderator: Pia Elísabeth Hansson, Director of the Institute of
International Aairs, the Centre for Small State Studies, the Centre
for Arctic Studies and Höfði Reykjavik Peace Centre, University of
Iceland
Christopher Corbin, Senior Programme Ocer, Ecosystems
Division, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
José Manuel Moller, CEO, Algramo
Julia Cohen, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Plastic Pollution
Coalition
Philip Stamp, Deputy Secretary, Secretariat to the OSPAR Com-
mission (attending virtually)
Christopher Corbin reviewed the global framework for plastics manage-
ment that currently exists within the United Nations. e complexity of
the plastic pollution problem makes partnerships across agencies, gov-
ernments, non-governmental organizations, and local communities more
important than ever. Corbin, who worked on the development of the
Caribbean Regional Action Plan for MarineLitter, talked about the process
of developing that plan, and the many players that were involved in making
that process successful. He noted that while nation state level change is
necessary, it is important to have regional agreements, cooperation, and
40 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
action plans, to account for the strong transboundary aspects of plas-
tics and other litter dispersion throughout the marine environment. For
regional plans to be eective, they must be co-developed with local com-
munities so that place-specic solutions can be developed to meet the
larger region’s goals.
e Caribbean Regional Action Plan, most recently updated 2014, used
methodology for monitoring and management developed by OSPAR, and
includes four themes: 1. research and monitoring, 2. governance, 3. com-
munication, and 4. capacity-building and training. e Caribbean strategy
is a living document, which makes it more adaptive and responsive to the
best and latest scientic discoveries. For example, in the wake of research
on microbead impacts on the environment, momentum for a ban grew.
Many countries signed on to the #cleanseascampaign and the regional plan
evolved to include microplastics.
Corbin emphasized that regional action plans are only as eective as
local implementation capability, and therefore it is important for com-
munities to have buy-in from the beginning. Communication of how an
issue like plastic pollution is relevant and impactful at the individual and
community levels makes the issue more relevant to local populations. Sev-
eral messaging campaigns were found to be eective in raising Caribbean
community awareness of plastic pollution and spurring local support.
Depending on the scale at which policy development is being targeted,
dierent drivers of motivation and framing will be useful. At the national
level a focus on the blue economy may be most eective, while at the inter-
national level a larger vision of meeting sustainable development goals may
be more important. Communication strategy must necessarily be nuanced.
Philip Stamp discussed OSPAR, which aims to protect the North Atlantic
Ocean. OSPAR members are countries bordering the northeast Atlantic or
who have major riverine inputs to it. OSPAR adopted a Regional Action
Plan in 2014, which is due to be reviewed in 2021. e Action Plan is a
combination of national actions, recommendations, and 32 collective
actions.
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Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
e OSPAR Regional Action Plan has a broad scope: it focuses on both
sea-and land-based litter, and provides recommendations for monitoring,
education, and removal activities. It includes analysis of issues not core
to marine life competencies (for example, solid waste management and
infrastructure that support storm water runo). OSPAR has conducted
extensive monitoring and assessments related to plastic pollution, which
Stamp notes is important to the credibility of the plan. An understand-
ing of pollution sources and how to measure progress of interventions is
critical, especially for engagement with sectors that are contributing to pol-
lution issues to get them on board. To that end, a marine litter assessment
will be produced by 2023, including litter impacts, harmful impacts, and
eectiveness of measures taken. Plastic pollution has not traditionally been
included in marine issues, which has made addressing it challenging, par-
tially because sources are oen outside the marine environment.
Among the OSPAR outputs are evidence documents, policy recommen-
dations (non-binding), and strategies for collaboration with other parties,
all which feed into European Union decision-making processes. In order
to determine progress on reducing litter in the absence of baseline data,
measurable targets could be identied, or an evaluation criterion could be
developed to describe targets and goals.
When the Action Plan was written, plastic pollution was a relatively new
eld, but that is no longer the case. Marine plastic litter has become a
major issue for many bodies including the EU (as evidenced by their direc-
tive on banning single use plastics), and at the nation state level. is raises
the question: how to add value in a constructive and collaborative way?
Julia Cohen discussed the work of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, which is
active in 60+ countries, on six continents, and has over 1100 member orga-
nizations and businesses.
Plastic pollution is a global problem, with 8 million tons of plastic entering
oceans annually (by 2050, there is expected to be more plastics than sh
in the ocean, by weight), becoming a source of toxic chemicals, and repre-
senting an urgent and growing global challenge.
42 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
e normalization of a “throwaway lifestyle” has resulted in massive envi-
ronmental pollution and degradation. Global plastic production is still
on the rise, largely due to cheap fossil fuels. However, there is growing
awareness of the problem of plastic pollution, resulting in an increasing
number of plastic bans, taxes, reduction campaigns, and regulations. Brand
audits reveal top polluters like Coca Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestle, and apply
pressure for more producer responsibility. Certain products, such as small,
sample-sized packets, are not conducive to recycling which compounds
issues that already exist with recycling. It is for this reasons that the Plas-
tic Pollution Coalition purports recycling to be more of a false solution
than a real one. ey have found that most products do not actually end
up being recycled, recycling systems are oen not worth the money that
has been put into them, most jurisdictions don’t have industrial compost
systems required to properly break down “compostable” plastics, and recy-
cling through pyrolysis is problematic due to energy requirements. Cohen
suggests the focus ought to be on solutions such as extended producer
responsibility, adherence to circular economy models, and increasing reuse
and rell methods. Long term solutions should also be planned, including
a full transition away from plastic-based packaging, increasing govern-
ment transparency and commitment to reduce and phase out plastics, and
increased corporate transparency on waste generation.
Jose Manuel Moller started his company Algramo aer embedding him-
self in a low-income neighborhood to better understand systemic issues
of socioeconomic inequality. He found that many households do not have
the money to buy full size versions of products like laundry detergent, so
they buy the smaller and cheaper versions, even though the per unit cost of
those products is signicantly higher. e greater cost of a product whose
packaging costs more than its contents is considered a poverty tax because
people with fewer means end up paying the most. is type of packaging
additionally increases the volume of waste that must be dealt with by dis-
advantaged communities.
Algramo envisions the packaging itself as a kind of wallet. Each wallet has
its own ID, to which money could be added through an online account,
and then the product—such as dish detergent or dry pet food—could be
relled from a bulk reservoir at designated rell locations. In addition to
43
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
reducing plastic packaging needs, this method is more cost-eective, and
savings get passed on to the consumer. Moller has found the product to be
30% cheaper than the average Walmart price. Producers benet because
they can keep their focus on manufacturing and save money on packaging.
Although Algramo is still a new company, it holds a promising future as it
is developing partnerships with large manufacturers and retailers, such as
with Walmart in Chile and a new alliance with Coca Cola.
Key Questions in Discussion:
How can global campaigns be scaled down appropriately to the regional
level? How can communities be encouraged to come together and feel
ownership over their own version of a global campaign?
ere are many cultural identities within each region, so campaigns
cannot be homogenous. e message needs to be appropriately
adjusted through communication with communities.
Behavioral change and nancial incentives are important. Commu-
nity leaders who act as trusted liaisons to the community have been
important to Algramo’s success. In Chile, for instance, shopkeepers
are neighborhood leaders who act as important intermediaries who
translate the relevance and importance of individual actions and
changes.
What are the constraints of measuring success of the regional action plans
and what advice might be oered to the Chairmanship in developing an
action plan for the Arctic?
Specic quantiable targets need to be incorporated into strategic
priorities at a regional level. For example, the marine litter action
plan never got to the point of legal adoption; it was endorsed but
not enforced. Long-term environment strategy includes language
about “substantial” reductions but not a quantied target. Success
44 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
criteria does not need to be limited to describing only end goals,
but rather a series of intermediate metrics that measure progress.
Since Stamp and Corbin both come from regions where there have been
successful regional action plans, how were they able to overcome chal-
lenges and determine ways of measuring success?
Corbin: is was most challenging. One issue was the marine litter
action plan never got to the legal obligation level so there is no
punitive action for non-compliance. e new document should
have tangible benchmarks, and specic priority actions with targets
to measure progress. Lack of data is a challenge because it is nec-
essary to know levels of reuse and recycling to be able to measure
improvement or lack thereof.
Stamp: e OSPAR model looks at more qualitative criteria for
success. e evaluation process was challenging and there was low
condence in quantitative measures of success.
Additionally, it should be noted that solutions must be “Arctic-ed”
through place-based, culturally appropriate, and respectful
practices. e use of simple, clear, and direct language is important
so that people of all backgrounds can participate in solution
development.
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Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Thematic Session 3: Eorts in the Arctic that can
be replicated or scaled up: What are promising
case studies of plastic pollution mitigation in the
Arctic that may be able to inform the strategy for
the regional action plan? How can these Arctic
success stories be scaled up or replicated?
Moderator: Gunn-Britt Retter, Head of the Arctic & Environment
Unit, Saami Council
Becca Robbins Gisclair, Senior Director of Arctic Programs,
Ocean Conservancy
Hans Axel Kristensen, Co-Founder & CEO, Plastix
Melissa Nacke, Environmental Specialist, Association of Arctic
Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO)
Olafur Kjartansson, Managing Director, Icelandic Recycling Fund
Becca Robbins Gisclair shared experiences with clean up initiatives and
the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI). e Ocean Conservancy focuses
on clean-ups as well as stopping the ow of plastics into the environment
through improved waste management and reduction of use. eir ag-
ship event is the annual International Coastal Cleanup. e top ten items
collected through these clean-ups are made of plastic, and in 2018 over 23
million pounds of trash was collected. e organization has had success with
volunteers using their Clean Swell app, the data from which is then used to
identify sites for larger cleanup eorts. e GGGI is a cross-sector initiative
which confronts the issue of lost, abandoned, and discarded shing gear
through recovery eorts. Both initiatives have seen success in removing plas-
tic waste from the marine environment and could easily be scaled up.
Melissa Nacke discussed the work of the Association of Arctic Expedi-
tion Cruise Operators (AECO) in ensuring an environmentally friendly,
responsible, and safe cruise industry in the Arctic. AECO runs a Clean
Seas Project that aims to reduce single use plastics on vessels, conduct
clean-ups, educate passengers, sta, and crew, and share best practices. In
46 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
2018 AECO collected 10,000 tons of waste, and they regularly contribute to
research eorts through analysis of collected waste quantication and com-
position, as well as assessments of potential origin and distribution of that
waste. AECO has partnered with the government of Svalbard in the “Clean
Up Svalbard” initiative, which includes picking up waste, and reporting the
type, quantity, and location of it. e government of Svalbard has spon-
sored vessels that are sent out to retrieve waste collected by AECO, which
has helped to make clean-ups aordable and feasible for the cruise opera-
tors. AECO is currently looking to expand this eort to Iceland. AECO has
produced guidelines for cleanups and encourages passengers to participate
through engaging in cleanups as well as by minimizing products that are
brought on board which will then need to be disposed.
A general lack of land-based waste receptacles contributes to the challenge
of keeping retrieved waste from re-entering the environment, so AECO
is making an eort to assess a zero-waste policy. e expedition cruise
industry could foster environmental stewardship since they tend to attract
customers who are open to having life changing experiences that also
create change in habits and behaviors.
Ólafur Kjartansson discussed the Icelandic Recycling Fund (IRF), which
is a collaborative eort between government, shermen, and the trade
industry. IRF uses nancial incentives to increase collection of waste,
including the explicit funding of collection and recycling. e incentive is
funded through a recycling fee on products for producers and importers.
is mechanism could be scaled or easily adopted by others.
ere are eorts to make shing nets more durable so they do not break
down as easily, but the challenge with that is the nets that end up discarded
in the ocean will then persist and act as ghost gear for even longer than
usual. e price of nets could incentivize shermen to keep them in use
and make them less easily disposable. Composite plastics cannot be recy-
cled, so the opportunity exists for producers to change that so the life span
of plastics used can be extended beyond the one net.
47
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Hans Axel Kristensen emphasized the enormously important role plastics
have played, including in the medical industry. However, plastics used in
healthcare as well as many other industries have escalated since the 1950s
and oen have not been designed with recycling in mind. Production of
plastic has ramped up in recent years with half of all plastics ever produced
having been manufactured in the last 13 years. ree challenging impacts
of plastic are their persistence in the environment, the way they degrade
into microplastics and nanoplastics, and the carbon footprint of plastic
production. Plastix seeks to increase the recyclability of shing nets—
which are oen unable to be recycled due to the presence of multiple types
of plastic in the one product—through mechanical recycling. ey sort
plastic products and then break them down into high quality raw materials
thereby reducing emissions associated with producing new material, keep-
ing the plastic from entering the environment, and extending the lifecycle
of the plastic already in use.
Kristensen discussed the importance of common language in regard to
plastics and noted that eorts are being made to create standard denitions
for the sake of consistency. He recommended marking and tracking sys-
tems for products so composition is clear, and consumers can be allowed to
make informed decisions that shi the industry through demand. A variety
of stakeholders are needed to address the plastic pollution issue at any sig-
nicant scale, and the plastics industry could play a larger role in that issue,
as well as in meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Key Questions in Discussion:
Solutions highlighted in this session seem to well-suited to local level
partnerships. AECO has made progress through partnerships, and the Ice-
landic Recycling Fund has been able to get good traction with the Icelandic
shing industry. What are the necessary conditions to scale these kinds of
solutions throughout the Arctic?
Melissa pointed out the critical partnership that AECO has with
the government of Svalbard, to work together on the clean-ups and
have the government assist in disposing of waste that is collected,
48 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
since the ships do not have the capacity to carry it with them.
Similar public-private partnerships are necessary for the expansion
of these eorts within the larger cruise industry.
Olafur from the Icelandic Recycling Fund explained how important
is has been the raise awareness among shermen of the problems
caused by discarded shing gear, and the negative impacts this
has on sh stocks. Although the government’s investment in these
programs has been important, simply increasing awareness among
the shing industry could go a long way in beginning to tackle the
issue of lost and discarded shing gear in Arctic waters.
All these examples have an economic and sustainability win-win for the
companies and governments who participated. How can the economic
up-side of sustainability eorts be better conceptualized to make a case for
action on plastic pollution? In what ways could a regional action plan help
support this kind of work?
Policy and demand signals are needed to make it clear there is a
market for recycled plastic, and economic incentives would be
helpful to encourage the circularity mindset in product develop-
ment. e circular economy necessarily requires a dierent way
of framing economic decisions. Raising awareness of plastic issues
and highlighting possible solutions could be helpful. Having a clear
united message of commitment to these ideas by Arctic nation
leadership would be helpful to beginning the necessary shi.
A Regional Action Pan with best practices for industries that are
known sources of plastic pollution could help set a clear bar for
performance.
49
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Thematic Session 4: Innovations and a path forward
to Reykjavik: What are science, technology and industry
innovations that may be able to help us address
the challenge of plastic pollution? What solutions
still need to be developed? How could innovation
be spurred through the regional action plan?
Moderator: Terzah Tippin Poe, Lecturer, Sustainability and Envi-
ronmental Management, Harvard University
Bill Cooper, SVP, Strategy & Corporate Development, Agilyx
Kara Lavender Law, Research Professor of Oceanography, Sea
Education Association
Philippe Amstislavski, Associate Professor of Public Health,
Department of Health Sciences, University of Alaska-Anchorage
Sonia Albein Urios, Researcher, Sustainability and Industrial
Recovery, AIMPLAS
Kara Lavender Law presented on developments in science to study plastic
pollution, highlighted current gaps in research, and strategies for moving
forward in measuring and monitoring plastic pollution. She discussed
research on quantity, location and type of debris in the Arctic environ-
ment. Although research is increasing, there are still signicant gaps in
understanding abundance and distribution of plastic debris. e lack of
standardized sampling and analysis methods for seawater, sediment, sea
ice, and biota hamper the understanding of the problem. Likely sources of
plastic pollution include waste from the land, shing and aquaculture gear
deployed and lost in the Arctic, ocean transport of debris from outside the
Arctic, and atmospheric deposition.
ere are known chemical and physical impacts of plastics in the marine
ecosystem including polymer degradation and the release of additives and
contaminants, as well as entanglement and ingestion. ese are concerns
for wildlife as well as people.
50 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Sonia Albein Urios outlined a circular economy concept for plastics and
emphasized the importance of product design to keep re-use in mind.
Aimplas works with plastic producers to encourage innovation and ways to
keep plastic out of the waste stream for as long as possible. e loss of plas-
tic is the waste of raw material that could be used in new products instead
of having to create new plastics.
Before Philippe Amstislavski became a researcher at the University of
Alaska Anchorage he spent 20 years in public health, which is where
he became exposed to the challenges of waste management in the rural
Arctic (specically Russia and Alaska). Lightweight plastics oen are not
well-contained in garbage dumps, and they end up being blown out onto
the tundra and into the larger environment. Since subsistence shing and
hunting activities are critically important to food security and cultures of
the Arctic, Amstislavski became concerned about the potential for plastic
to contaminate drinking water and the food chain.
Biomaterials that are not based on fossil fuels have an established history
amongst Arctic indigenous peoples who have inhabited the region for
thousands of years. As biomaterials, Amstislavki’s research on myceli-
um-based packaging products has shown they can be buried when their
use has been exhausted, and that they are able to fully re-integrate into a
forest ecosystem through biodegradation. He is working on developing a
commercially viable mycelium-based biomaterial alternative to polysty-
rene, particularly for the use of insulating sh as they are shipped from
Alaska and for insulation in housing. He has experienced signicant chal-
lenges in nding funding to support innovative research, and for getting
small business logistical support.
Bill Cooper emphasized that fundamentally the solution must rely on
ways to keep plastics out of the environment and in the value stream. His
company, Agilyx, uses chemical recycling to break plastics down to the
molecular level so they can be reconstituted into an array of new products.
ey are challenged with having a limited number of processing facilities
meaning plastics sometimes must be shipped long distances to reach a
facility for them to be chemically recycled, which contributes to the carbon
footprint of the process.
51
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Key Questions in Discussion:
Looking across the scale techno-optimism to techno-pessimism, how real-
istic is it that technology can address this problem? What is standing in the
way?
Technology exists for mechanical and chemical plastic recycling, as
well as for material alternatives (such as mycelium). One challenge
is making alternatives price competitive and scalable, which will
take signicant investment and systems change. Another challenge
is that implementing these solutions will require a shi in current
systems. While technology may be able to help solve these prob-
lems, technology alone won’t get us there, there must be economic
incentives and market signals.
Communities in the Arctic are distinct from one another. e challenges of
bringing technology to scale in the Arctic is magnied by the remoteness
of some communities. e same technological solution that may work well
for one community, may not work for another. Without picking winners
how can solutions that work locally be elevated and appropriately scaled?
For initiatives like clean-ups and monitoring, the ability to leverage
local knowledge will be indispensable in understanding how the
conditions have changed over time.
For technological solutions it is necessary to engage with communi-
ties to make sure the proposed solutions are appropriately matched
to local needs. Can local communities be empowered through
investment to locally produce solutions? Tackling the plastic pollu-
tion problem could well be framed as an opportunity for economic
development and job creation.
Rather than the regional action plan picking winners, the local
communities should select solutions that best t their needs. e
Action Plan could be helpful in laying out technological solution
options.
52 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Closing Session: What Has Been Learned?
Guiding questions:
What have been the key policy levers which have surfaced that
could contribute to the creation of a regional action plan?
How can this group continue to collaborate in the development of
this research and provide concrete recommendations?
Where are there still gaps?
Fran Ulmer, Senior Fellow, Arctic Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School
is is a wicked problem with no easy solution, but it is obligatory to tackle
the parts of the problem that can be addressed. e global community
has quickly generated massive amounts of plastic without anticipating
what it would take to produce it, use it, dispose of it, and/ or reuse it in a
responsible way. ere is a false perception that waste goes “away” when
it disappears, but that is a short-lived perception as microplastics are now
ubiquitous in the environment, including in food. ere are global sources
and solutions, and there are local sources and solutions.
Question for Discussion: “What can Arctic nations do to address plastic
pollution in the Arctic Ocean?” Specically, what can the Arctic Council
do? ey don’t have regulatory authority, but they can convene, focus,
assess, motivate, promote research, and/or reach agreements.
Regarding April 2020 symposium:
Who are the stakeholders that should be consulted?
e EU ban on single use plastics means 5 of 8 Arctic states
must implement that policy. Creating policy alignment
across the Arctic may be an opportunity to leverage.
How much should precautionary principle factor into planning?
53
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
ere are rising concerns about nanoplastics in sh and
implications for the Icelandic shing industry. e impact
on human health of bioaccumulation of plastics in tissue
is unknown, but it is a topic that is gaining traction in the
public imagination.
Although scientic investment to quantify impacts is neces-
sary, enough is known to denitively say plastic pollution is
a problem and something must be done.
How might economic incentives be useful?
Tackling plastic pollution has created win-wins for industry
and the environment, but it still requires increased invest-
ment and systems change. Can the Arctic be a leader in
combating plastic pollution and benet economically from
that leadership?
Brainstorm of Ideas for Next Steps Towards a Regional Action Plan:
e Arctic Council struggles to collaborate with private sector but
there is potential to build engagement through the Arctic Economic
Council and non-governmental organizations.
Prevention at sea gear management guidelines could be adapted by
AC for vessels.
Guidelines for aquaculture best practices are another option
Creating a map of the bioeconomy of Iceland and other Arctic
nations could be useful in conveying the nancial benets of
healthy environments (for example through tourism, seafood
industry, etc)
Engagement of cross-sector stakeholders would create more
buy-in.
e benets of locally sourcing foods from subsistence activities in
rural areas generally outweigh the risks, so messaging should avoid
being unhelpfully alarmist. Since the Arctic is not homogenous,
54 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
solutions should be tailored to meet local needs in a way that is
respectful.
e promotion of locally sourced foods in Arctic commu-
nities (as opposed to processed foods shipped in from other
places) could contribute to waste reduction.
Access is a big issue and the ability of community members
to buy products that don’t generate plastic waste should be
considered.
ere is a need for funding to support innovation in the Arctic, that
is currently a big gap.
Response: Regarding the lack of funding to support innova-
tion—two entities could be empowered:
» 1. Arctic Council—innovation cuts across its four
founding principles. Could create a fund to support
young innovators who want to address this issue.
» 2. Global Science Ministers—rst was at the White
House in Sept 2016—second was two years later in
Berlin.
ere could be great benet to these two entities picking up these opportu-
nities. Stronger programs in existing structures are needed.
Mimic a “Hackathon” concept of an event that brings local people
together to think this through and generate place-based responses.
Arctic communities could have a “Plastithon” or “Climathon.
Communication and messaging have been mentioned but there
is a need to recognize that there is an art to making them eective
and expertise is needed in craing them. One way to communicate
is through media and storytelling. Arctic Council should receive
guidance on not just conveying facts but telling stories about
human resilience, animals, and plants that bring hope, as well as
local stories that convey what the issue looks/feels like in Arctic
communities.
55
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Communication can also be achieved without words (ex.
An artist made a pop-out book on plastic with no words,
but it conveys the problem; a video game called “Never
Alone” was eective with Inuit elders, with the inclusion of
Inuit language and concepts).
Recommend being deliberate in issue framing—recognizing
humanity rst and creation of consumer mentality second.
A circular economy requires a conceptual move away from
continuous consumption with the incorporation of more
rell and reuse habits.
Youth are key to involve since they have energy for these
issues and are stakeholders.
Need a thoughtful process to distill complexity to its
simplest form that makes it easier to communicate to the
general public. Need small, doable steps that anyone can
take.
Industry engagement is important to have from an early point in
the process and not merely as an aerthought. Same thing with
engagement from local communities and indigenous people.
e Plastic Policy Playbook from Ocean Conservancy provides a
toolbox for dierent levels of government and might be a useful
tool.
Another lesson from the Caribbean marine litter action plan that
could be useful for the marine litter action plan for the Arctic is
to make the plan exible; provide short, medium, and long-term
actions; use some successes as easy wins.
Final wrap-up: is issue will require a variety of approaches and coor-
dinated responses. Both the public and private sectors should address this
question: what can be done that could make progress toward reducing
plastics in the Arctic Ocean.
57
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Appendix 3: Thanks &
Acknowledgements
October 2019 Workshop Participant List
Harvard’s Belfer Center and the Wilson Center would like to thank the
following workshop participants and contributors for their valuable time,
eorts, and contributions to our October 2019 workshop:
Alice Rogo, Founder, Publisher and Editorial Director, Arctic
Today
Amanda Sardonis, Associate Director, Environment and Natural
Resources Program (ENRP), Harvard Kennedy School Belfer
Center for Science and International Aairs
Becca Robbins Gisclair, Sr. Director, Ocean Conservancy Arctic
Programs
Bill Cooper, SVP, Strategy & Corporate Development, Agilyx
Charlotte Dyvik Henke, Environmental Engineering Student at
Harvard University, Class of 2021
Christopher Corbin, Senior Programme Ocer, Ecosystems Divi-
sion, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Cristine Russell, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy and Senior
Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Harvard
Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs
Daniel Bicknell, Master of Public Policy Student, Harvard Kennedy
School of Government, Class of 2020
Deenaalee Hodgdon, Anthropology and Public Policy Student,
Brown University, Class of 2020.
Dr. Douglas Causey, Professor of Biological Sciences and Principal
Investigator of the Department of Homeland Security Arctic
Domain Awareness Center of Excellence
58 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Elizabeth Hogan, Consultant, CSIRO & USAID
Elizabeth McLanahan, Director of NOAAs Oce of International
Aairs and Senior Advisor to the NOAA Administrator
Gunn-Britt Retter, Head of Arctic and Environmental Unit of the
Saami Council
Henry Lee, Jassim M. Jaidah Family Director of the Environment
and Natural Resources Program (ENRP), Harvard Kennedy School
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs, Co-Founder
and Co-Director, Arctic Initiative, Harvard Kennedy Schools Belfer
Center for Science and International Relations
Hans Axel Kristensen, Co-founder & CEO, PLASTIX
Hrönn Ólína Jörundsdóttiris, Chief Infrastructure Ocer (CIO),
Matís
Isabel Feinstein, Assistant, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center
for Science and International Aairs Environment and Natural
Resources Program (ENRP)
Dr. Jenna Jambeck, Professor in the College of Engineering at the
University of Georgia (UGA), Director of the Center for Circular
Materials Management in the New Materials Institute and National
Geographic Fellow
Dr. Jennifer Provencher, Head of the Wildlife Health Unit, Cana-
dian Wildlife Service
Dr. John P. Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Envi-
ronmental Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government,
Co-Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program and
Co-Director, Arctic Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer
Center for Science and International Aairs
Joel Clement, Arctic Initiative Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy
School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs
Joël Ploue, Advisor, Arctic Council Secretariat (ACS ),Tromsø,
Norway
59
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs | Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
José Manuel Moller, CEO & Founder, Algramo
Julia Cohen, MPH, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Plastic
Pollution Coalition
Dr. Kara Lavender Law, Research Professor. Sea Education
Association
Karin Vander Schaaf, Administrative Coordinator, Science,
Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP), Harvard Kennedy
School Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs
Katie Segal, Master of Public Policy Student, Harvard Kennedy
School of Government, Class of 2020
Keith Chanon, Program Director, National Science Foundation’s
(NSF) Oce of International Science & Engineering
Dr. Liza Mack, Executive Director, Aleut International Association
Magnús Jóhannesson, Special Adviser on Arctic Aairs for the
Icelandic Government
Margrét Cela, Project Manager, Centre for Arctic Studies, Univer-
sity of Iceland
Martina Müller, Associate Economics Aairs Ocer, United
Nations
Dr. Melanie Bergmann, Senior Deep-Sea Researcher, Alfred Wege-
ner Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
Melissa Nacke, Environmental Specialist, Association of Arctic
Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO)
Nancy Wallace, Director, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration Marine Debris Program
Nicholas Austin, Foreign Service Ocer, U.S. Department of State
Ólafur Kjartansson, Managing Director, Icelandic Recycling Fund
(IRF)
Peter Murphy, Alaska Coordinator, NOAA Marine Debris Program
60 Policy and Action on Plastic in the Arctic Ocean: October 2019 Workshop Summary & Recommendations
Philip Stamp, Deputy Secretary, Secretariat to the OSPAR
Commission
Philippe Amstislavski, Associate Professor of Public Health,
University of Alaska
Pia Elísabeth Hansson, Director, Institute of International Aairs
Centre for Small State Studies and Centre for Arctic Studies and
Höfði Reykjavik Peace Centre, University of Iceland
Siddarth Shrikanth, Dual-Degree Master of Public Policy Student
and Master of Business Administration Student, Harvard Kennedy
School of Government and Stanford Business School, Class of 2022
Soía Guðmundsdóttir, PAME Executive Secretary
Sonia Albein Urios, Researcher, Sustainability and Industrial
Recovery, AIMPLAS.
Terzah Tippin Poe, Lecturer, Sustainability and Environmental
Management, Harvard University
Tiina Kurvits, Project Manager, GRID-Arendal
Tze Ni Yeoh, Master of Public Policy Student, Harvard Kennedy
School of Government, Class of 2020
The Arctic Initiative
Belfer Center for Science and International Aairs
Harvard Kennedy School
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Cambridge, MA 02138
The Polar Institute
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
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One Woodrow Wilson Plaza
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Washington, DC 20004-3027
www.belfercenter.org/Arctic
www.wilsoncenter.org/program/polar-institute
Copyright 2019, President and Fellows of Harvard College
Printed in the United States of America
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Senior Programme Officer, Ecosystems Division
  • Corbin Christopher
• Christopher Corbin, Senior Programme Officer, Ecosystems Division, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Arctic Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Relations • Hans Axel Kristensen
  • Henry Lee
  • M Jassim
• Henry Lee, Jassim M. Jaidah Family Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Program (ENRP), Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Arctic Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Relations • Hans Axel Kristensen, Co-founder & CEO, PLASTIX
Co-Founder & Managing Director
  • Julia Cohen
• Julia Cohen, MPH, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Plastic Pollution Coalition
Master of Public Policy Student, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • Katie Segal
• Katie Segal, Master of Public Policy Student, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Class of 2020
Program Director, National Science Foundation's (NSF) Office of International Science & Engineering
  • Keith Chanon
• Keith Chanon, Program Director, National Science Foundation's (NSF) Office of International Science & Engineering
Associate Economics Affairs Officer, United Nations • Dr. Melanie Bergmann, Senior Deep-Sea Researcher
  • Martina Müller
• Martina Müller, Associate Economics Affairs Officer, United Nations • Dr. Melanie Bergmann, Senior Deep-Sea Researcher, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
NOAA Marine Debris Program • Philip Stamp, Deputy Secretary, Secretariat to the OSPAR Commission • Philippe Amstislavski
  • Alaska Peter Murphy
  • Coordinator
• Peter Murphy, Alaska Coordinator, NOAA Marine Debris Program • Philip Stamp, Deputy Secretary, Secretariat to the OSPAR Commission • Philippe Amstislavski, Associate Professor of Public Health, University of Alaska
Dual-Degree Master of Public Policy Student and Master of Business Administration Student
  • Shrikanth Siddarth
• Siddarth Shrikanth, Dual-Degree Master of Public Policy Student and Master of Business Administration Student, Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Stanford Business School, Class of 2022