Photo Credit: Benjamin Horgan via Minderoo Foundation.

the negative
impacts of
plastic on
people and
the planet

Water pollutionWater pollution

What we do

Plastic is in our communities, rivers and oceans. It is in our water, air, rain and snow, and it is also in our bodies. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest, most urgent threats facing our planet and our health.

Our vision is for a world without plastic pollution.

Through Sea the Future, we aim to end plastic leakage to nature and to accelerate transition towards a circular plastics economy – which would see the current ‘take-make-waste’ approach transformed to an era of plastic reuse and recycling.  

We seek to increase transparency across the plastics supply chain to help industry, investors, governments and consumers make more informed decisions about how plastics are funded, produced, consumed and disposed of.

We encourage the public, industry, and government to take action, to use less plastic, and to support progress towards a circular economy for plastic. We invest in and incubate technologies and innovations that drive down the cost of plastic recycling, create alternatives to plastic, and enable the recovery of plastic from nature, including from the ocean.

Olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) in water surrounded by plastic waste, Ile de Contador, PanamaOlive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) in water surrounded by plastic waste, Ile de Contador, Panama

How we do it

We are working with industry to create a market-led model for a circular plastics economy.

We are leading world first research to create greater transparency across the plastics supply chain.

We incubate innovations to reduce recycling costs, create alternatives to plastic and recover plastic that is already polluting our environment – particularly the ocean. Our aim is to enable businesses, governments, and consumers to take effective actions that end plastic pollution in a generation.

Why we care

Of the 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic produced since its invention in the 1930s, only 9 per cent has ever been recycled.

Every month, governments spend billions of dollars trying to manage this waste. Yet the amount of plastic we make, and the waste we produce, is rapidly increasing. Leakage rates into the environment are expected to triple in the next 20 years. 

The good news? Technologies that could reduce the leakage by 80 per cent already exist. A circular plastics economy – which replaces the typical cycle of ‘take, make, waste’ with re-use and recycling – offers the best chance the world has to eradicate plastic pollution. Minderoo Foundation seeks to catalyse this radical change


Plastic Waste Makers Index

The Plastic Waste Makers Index is a report that reveals the source of the single-use plastics crisis.

In this report, we identify for the first time the companies that produce from fossil fuels the five primary polymers that generate the vast majority of single-use plastic waste globally (“virgin single-use plastic polymer producers”) – and which investors and banks are funding them.

We also assess which companies are making real efforts to create a circular plastics economy, and estimate how virgin polymer production is expected to grow or decline in the future.

Plastics & Human Health

We are harnessing existing evidence and contributing new evidence about the impact of plastics on human health; and collaborating with like-minded researchers around the world to improve global understanding.

The Plastic Forecast

The Plastic Forecast estimates the amount of ‘plastic rain’ to visualise the plastic problem in a call for a robust UN Treaty to end plastic pollution.

Global Plastic Watch

Global Plastic Watch is a tool which combines earth observation with artificial intelligence to create the first-ever near-real-time high-resolution map of plastic pollution. This is the largest open-source dataset of plastic waste across dozens of countries.

Sea The Future

‘Sea the Future’ is an industry initiative that aims to reduce the cost of recycled plastic, in order to tip the scales in favour of re-using the plastics we already have, rather than creating new plastic.

To achieve this, we will bring global companies from across the plastics value chain together with leading experts in this field, to develop a new market-based solution to supports the rapid scaling of  plastic collection and recycling systems globally.

Industry members will drive demand for recycled plastics, which in turn will drive collection and recycling efforts. It will bring innovative recycling technologies to the forefront, making them competitive against the production of plastic from fossil fuels.

With the benefit of collaboration with Government and regulators, and financial support from industry members, ‘Sea the Future’ will catalyse change to turn the tide on the plastic waste issue.

Supply Chain Transparency

We are leading world first research to generate transparency across the plastics supply chain to help industry, investors, governments and consumers more informed decisions about how plastics are funded, produced, consumed and disposed of.

Technology & innovation

There is an unmet and significant need for data on the location and quantity of plastic in our oceans. We bring the world’s smartest minds together to identify technologies and innovations that will identify where the plastic is in our oceans and how to remove it.





Minderoo Foundation calls for an ambitious and legally binding global plastic treaty