Sullivan Welcomes Private Sector Coalition to Combat Marine Debris

Alliance Commits $1.5 Billion to Solve the Issue of Plastics in the Ocean

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the bipartisan cosponsors of the Save Our Seas (SOS) Act, which was signed into law last year, teamed up for a forum on Capitol Hill to highlight the newly formed non-profit, “Alliance to End Plastic Waste,” and preview their “SOS 2.0” legislation which will be introduced later this year. Member companies of the Alliance recently committed $1.5 billion to help address the global marine debris crisis.

“This new coalition of private sector businesses investing significant resources toward solving the marine debris crisis is an extremely exciting development and a huge cause for hope,” said Senator Sullivan. “We know plastic waste is one critical environmental issue that is solvable, actionable, and measurable. With all stakeholders—the private sector, environmental groups, and both the legislative and executive branches—pulling on the same oar, I am confident we can work to solve this global challenge together.

“Senator Whitehouse and I are eager to unveil ‘SOS 2.0,’ legislation that will build on the provisions of the Save Our Seas Act and have a particular focus on incentivizing the private sector and innovators to step forward with new technologies and systems to protect our marine ecosystems.”


Every year, roughly eight million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste from land enters the oceans. Since 2005, NOAA estimates that it has removed 1.3 million pounds of marine debris in Alaska. In 2015 alone, the non-profit group Gulf of Alaska Keeper collected over one million pounds of marine debris from remote Alaska beaches. The debris is known to break down into tiny pieces that can enter the marine food web and harm fish and wildlife, and also washes ashore on even the most remote beaches.


The Senators – both members of the Senate Oceans Caucus – introduced the Save Our Seas Act in March 2017 to boost the federal government’s domestic and international response to the millions of tons of plastic waste and other garbage that litter our shores, pollute our oceans, endanger wildlife, and disrupt commerce.

In October 2018, the SOS Act was signed into law by President Trump.

To learn more about the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, click here.