Nature conservation

Nature conservation

Clean oceans

150 million tonnes of plastic waste in our oceans is enough! What politicians, businesses and consumers can do to achieve clean oceans.

Infographic on KfW's commitment to reduce plastic waste

1. KfW's commitment

KfW Group works towards clean oceans in two areas. In partnership with the Clean Oceans Initiative, the European Investment Bank and French development bank AFD, it works on waste and waste water projects in emerging and developing countries.

Promoting a circular economy is intended to support Europe's transition to an economy that conserves resources. Less waste will be produced in future with this approach.

2. Political action

The EU wants to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the oceans – with legislative measures and investments. To this end, the European Commission published its Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy in 2018, grouping all its measures into four categories:

3. Consumer behaviour

Germany is the European champion when it comes to producing packaging waste. Citizens produce an average of 220 kilos per capita per year – including around 25 kilos of plastic. Each individual can do a great deal to reduce the amount of plastic. But a change in behaviour requires a change in thinking. Environmental organisations are doing important educational work in this respect, which has led to many consumers feeling motivated to change their habits. The six opportunities for action to deal with plastic are:

Alternative packaging materials

4. Technical innovations

Alternative packaging materials are needed so that new plastic is not created in the first place. North German start-up Superseven, which won the KfW Entrepreneurs’ Award in 2018, produces compostable cellulose film from timber under the brand name Repaq. Sven und Katja Seevers’ idea is often the centre of attention at trade fairs.

Eduardo Gordillo had another good idea for plastic alternatives. He manufactures disposable tableware made from compostable crop waste. “Any product can be reused, if it is designed that way from the start,” Gordillo says. His start-up Bio-Lutions was co-financed by KfW subsidiary DEG.

Published on KfW Stories on 23 May 2019


All United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Agenda in 2015. At its heart is a list of 17 goals for sustainable development, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our world should become a place where people are able to live in peace with each other in ways that are ecologically compatible, socially just, and economically effective.