Each year more than 8 million tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans, threatening life under water and industries like tourism that depend on clean water for swimming and other recreational activities.

Marine pollution is a dangerous, rising trend―one that poses many risks. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), whether used in plastic bottles, containers or otherwise, is the biggest contributor to marine littering and pollution. During the pandemic, littering has increased as one-time use plastic gear is being encouraged for public health safety.

The private sector can provide solutions to address marine plastic pollution. One important step is to scale up the commercial recycling, allowing plastic bottles to be reused on land, not discarded into the sea.

IFC, the Asian Development Bank, and German development finance institution DEG together provided a $300 million “blue loan” to Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL), a leading global manufacturer and recycler of PET resin. The loan will support Indorama in increasing its annual PET recycling capacity to 50 billion bottles by 2025 in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand—the five countries most affected by marine pollution. After achieving its target, the project will reduce the company’s carbon footprint equivalent to almost 3 million barrels of crude and 1.65 million tons of CO2 emission avoidance each year.

"Our company, IVL, is building the recycling infrastructure needed to divert waste from the marine environment. By recycling post-consumer PET bottles into new bottles, we give waste an economic value. This drives improvements in waste collection systems, meaning less waste and cleaner oceans," said Yashovardhan Lohia, Indorama’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

A blue loan is an innovative instrument whereby the funds raised are certified and tracked exclusively for projects that support a blue economy, such as for the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health. This marks IFC's first blue loan exclusively focused on addressing marine plastic pollution.

IFC’s blue loan to Indorama complements our ongoing work on a circular economy for plastics and enhanced waste management in Asia. It demonstrates that recycling can be an effective intervention to address plastic waste—one that also supports sustainability.