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BASF volunteers fight against plastic wastes along Suzhou River in Shanghai

September 19, 2020

On September 19, this year’s World Cleanup Day, BASF organized its first corporate cleanup volunteering activity in Shanghai in cooperation with Pickup China, a Shanghai-based environmental non-governmental organization. Led by Stephan Kothrade, President and Chairman Greater China, 120 BASF volunteers including BASF employees and families gathered near Suzhou River to clean up wastes including plastic wastes in the city center of Shanghai, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable world. Within 90 minutes, BASF “trash hunters” cleaned up a total of 116.3kg waste, including 403 pieces of hazardous waste and 815 pieces of recyclables.

“BASF is working on innovative technologies to recycle and recover plastic waste. We are also committed to contributing to a cleaner environment beyond. Today, we are gathering here to make our collective contributions to reducing wastes, especially plastic wastes in the environment. This is very meaningful,” said Stephan Kothrade at the welcome speech.

The eleven teams of BASF volunteers passionately engaged in the cleanup activity and collected massive amounts of plastic waste discarded along the riverside, on the streets, outside of construction sites, on the lawns and etc.

This year’s World Cleanup Day aims to arouse the public’s attention to cigarette butts, the most discarded plastic wastes around the world.  Cigarette buts are easily neglected or mistakenly believed by most people that they are made of sponge. They are not biodegradable. When a cigarette butt is thrown into the environment, it will release nicotine, heavy metals and many other chemicals causing cancer, seriously damage soil and aquatic environment. Within merely 90 minutes, BASF volunteers were surprised to pick up more than 10,500 pieces of cigarette butts in the city, filling 43 plastic bottles.

Checkpoint competition at historical landmarks along Suzhou River made the cleanup journey more fun. Out of 23 teams registered, BASF teams “Chem Recycle”, “Environmental Protection Pioneer” and “Elements” swept 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes. For many kids joining the cleanup activity, this became a very good opportunity for them to understand the harm of plastic waste left unmanaged in the environment and to cultivate a sustainable lifestyle at an early age.

Plastics is a valuable resource – also as waste – and must be treated as such. It is unacceptable that plastic waste is discarded in the environment and left unmanaged, which has become a serious global challenge that calls for swift action and strong leadership.  

Social engagement has always been an important cornerstone for BASF. Employees are BASF’s best ambassadors contributing to its implementation. As a co-founding member of the global Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), a nonprofit organization envisioning to end plastic waste in the environment and enabling a circular plastics economy, BASF supports AEPW’s objective to avoid and reduce plastic waste in the environment. In 2020, BASF joined AEPW’s All Together Global Cleanup campaign through joint cleanup activities and encouraging individual cleanup activity.