Marine debris is plastic waste spread in the ocean, floating highly dispersed on the sea surface, or sunk on the sea bottom.
OBP is plastic waste abandoned on land and at risk of entering the ocean (potential, shoreline, and waterways categories). Additionally, ZPO considers in the fishing material OBP category waste recovered from the fishing industry to prevent abandonment at sea and plastic caught as bycatch to prevent that it is thrown back at sea again.
The differences between collecting marine debris/OP or OBP can be compared on the following aspects:
- Cost and efficiency of collection
Collecting marine debris is very costly and requires a lot of energy (CO2 emissions) because it is far to reach and very dispersed. The efficiency is limited to what is still floating, which is the lesser portion.
Collecting OBP is naturally more cost effective, and it is possible to collect all of it, especially when using our OBP Neutrality Subprogram that gives value to no value plastic waste through OBP credits.
Note: The particular case of the inclusion of plastic bycatch (unvoluntary collection of marine debris by fishermen) in the Fishing Material OBP Category was motivated precisely because this collection, by its opportunistic nature remains very cost and resource efficient.
Marine debris will naturally be more degraded by UVs and salty water than OBP that is captured on land or through incentivized recovery schemes, hence there is a higher probability of recycling OBP.
All efforts to rid oceans of plastic pollution are laudable, however collecting this plastic while large quantities are still being discharged into the ocean is like mopping the floor without closing the tap.