Marine Plastic Litter

Plastic pollution presents a significant threat to our ocean. It endangers marine life, damages ecosystems, threatens human health and livelihoods and contributes to climate change.

Reducing the amount of plastic litter in the oceans is a shared responsibility and requires a collective effort. By taking steps to reduce single-use plastics onboard ships, the shipping industry can contribute to addressing the global plastic litter problem.

Dr Bev Mackenzie, BIMCO's Head of Intergovernmental Engagement, is a highly qualified marine scientist and leads BIMCO's work in this area.

One example is the industry-wide survey on plastics onboard ship BIMCO launched in June together with Collective Action for the Ocean.

BIMCO supports phasing out single-use plastic bottles when replaced by onboard systems that provide safe and good quality drinking water. As well as reducing plastics the alternatives can provide ship owners with cost savings, reduce their CO2 emissions and contribute to seafarer well-being – not to mention the overall “feel good” factor.

The BIMCO task force on single-use plastics- industry leadership to support the BIMCO campaign

The single-use plastics task force was formulated to explore relevant issues surrounding the reduction of single use plastics (SUP) (namely bottles) onboard ships and to provide practical, on-the-ground insight that supports our industry campaign.

About the task force

Established in early 2022 the informal single-use plastics task force brings together representatives from across the BIMCO membership to support the development of the campaign and to look at the practicalities of the basket of solutions that might exist. 

  • Identify the barriers to reducing SUP onboard ships and highlight both existing and new ways to address those barriers to ensure the industry campaign is based on the best available knowledge and experience
  • Support the design of data gathering mechanisms, for example surveys, in order to collect information from the shipping industry
  • Inspire shipowners, operators and managers to take action and offer assistance as and when necessary
  • Help stimulate new ideas related to SUP onboard ships, encourage creative shipping-led solutions and discuss ways on how best to develop new proposals
  • Determine and, where relevant, integrate other initiatives that might be complementary to the work of BIMCO and BIMCO members and retain an oversight of such initiatives and outcomes
  • Discuss other ship-based sources of plastics (macro and micro) and prioritise accordingly for future work.  

Who is on the task force?

It consists of representatives from organisations that are both well advanced in their efforts to reduce plastics and those who are wanting to learn from the experiences of others. This mixture of knowledge helps sense check the ideas and learn about the barriers across different companies. 

Members of the task force include:

  • COSCO Shipping Lines
  • Wilhelmsen
  • Thome Ship Management
  • Grieg Star
  • Scorpio Ship Management
  • Oceanwide Expeditions
  • Sannmar Shipping Ltd
  • Gard AS
  • NSB Niederelbe Schiffahrtsges.mbH & Co. KG

In addition, we welcome participation of expert observers  

  • IMPASave

Getting involved

If you would like to discuss participation, please contact Dr Bev Mackenzie, Head Intergovernmental Engagement at the BIMCO secretariat.

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