Get started living plastic-free. Disposable plastic items are so common that it's easy to not notice them. But disposable plastic is everywhere - the ubiquitous plastic bottles of water or soft drinks; the plastic straws delivered in our drinks; the plastic bags offered to us at stores; the plastic cups, bottles and utensils at nearly every social event; the plastic packaging of nearly everything in the supermarket. Once you see it for what it is - plastic pollution - it's simple to just REFUSE it. Here are some tips to reduce your plastic footprint. Download PPC's one sheets with facts and action steps provided in multiple languages:
Bahamas Plastic Movement - Put Down the Plastic
Bahamas Plastic Movement believes that through research, education, citizen science & policy change, they can create a healthy marine and terrestrial environment free of plastic pollution. Check out this infographic to learn how to move away from plastic dependency.
Center for Global Environmental Education CGEE Watershed Action
The Watershed Action site offers one-stop help in planning and organizing service-learning projects to prevent water pollution in your watershed. Within this site you can access everything from scientific background information or curricula, to local experts or stencils for painting storm drain signs.
Center for Sustainable Energy - TAKING OUT LITTER: FOCUS ON PLASTIC FOAM FOOD CONTAINERS
This Report offers a roadmap for ordinances banning polystyrene service ware.
Clean Water Action (CWA) - Toxics in Packaging Report
This report investigates the issue of chemicals in food packaging and their impact on the safety of what American consumers eat and drink. While the report focuses specifically on the packaging issue, its insight into systemic regulatory failure and recommendations about how to x the problems are equally applicable to direct food additives. See downloads of the Executive Summary, the Full Report, an Infographic, and a Fact Sheet.
Other CWA ReThink Disposable Program materials and publications:
- Study on greenhouse gas impacts of disposable vs Reusable foodservice products
- Source Reduction Pledge
- Source Reduction Pledge leaflet
- Reusable Food Service ware Guide
- Tsunami of Trash Brochure
- Disposable Cup Info-Graphic
- Taking Out the Trash: Identifying Sources of Trash in the Bay Area Executive Summary
Plastic is literally at our fingertips all day long. Plastic keyboard. Plastic framed computer monitor. Plastic mouse. The amount of plastic we encounter daily doesn’t end there. Plastic has become an epidemic. This fact sheet provides 22 preposterous facts about plastic and things we can do to make a difference.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) - Smart Innovation - the Opportunity for Safer Preservatives
The Preservative Innovation Project (PIP) offers a framework to direct innovation for specific functional classes of chemicals (e.g., preservatives) in order to drive safer chemicals and products into the marketplace.
EDF launched the Preservatives Innovation Project (PIP) to better understand the barriers and enablers to safer chemicals innovation in the marketplace, with particular interest in exploring how a consistent toxicological evaluation of a chemical class can guide innovation and data development via the
identification of hazard hotspots and data gaps.
The report finds that without transparent, structured sets of baseline health and safety information,
safer chemical innovation will remain difficult. Shared hazard assessment information through a
new “Chemicals Assessment Clearinghouse” would accelerate innovation.
EPA has published a white paper to identify a state of the science on the toxicological effects of plastics and their associated chemicals on aquatic-dependent wildlife and aquatic life and identify opportunities for research to further our understanding of the potential toxic impacts of plastic ingestion throughout the food web. Access Fact Sheet here.
Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates - Survey of Communities of Color on Plastic Pollution 2016
Communities of color in California are concerned about plastic pollution and rank it as a top environmental issue. They are willing to support community bans and take personal action to reduce plastic use.
Greenpeace - Plastic Debris in the World’s Oceans
Solid materials, typically waste, that has found its way to the marine environment is called marine debris. It is known to be the cause of injuries and deaths of numerous marine animals and birds, either because they become entangled in it or they mistake it for prey and eat it.
At least 267 different species are known to have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of marine debris including seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish.
The scale of contamination of the marine environment by plastic debris is vast. It is
found floating in all the world’s oceans, everywhere from polar regions to the equator.
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy - Food and Health Program -
Smart Plastics Guide Healthier Food Uses of Plastics
Plastics are widely used to store and package food and beverages. They are convenient, lightweight, unbreakable and relatively inexpensive. However, there are both environmental and health risks from the widespread use of plastics.
Environmental problems: Most plastics are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Plastic packaging also creates unnecessary waste. Plastic is bulky—taking up a large volume of landfill space. Health risks: The use of plastics in cooking and food storage can carry health risks, especially when hormone disrupting chemicals from some plastics
leach into foods and beverages. Plastic manufacturing and incineration creates air and water pollution, and exposes
workers to toxic chemicals.
Journal of Industrial Ecology - Special Issue: Exploring the Circular Economy,
June 2017, Volume 21, Issue 3, Pages 471–795
This report covers a range of issues about the Circular Economy including Taking Circularity to the Next Level, Limitations with Respect to Primary Raw Material sDemand, Product Contamination, Product Design among others topics.
LITTERBASE summarises results from 1,221 scientific studies in understandable global maps and figures and opens scientific knowledge on marine litter to the public.
Plastic litter in our oceans is one area where we need to learn more, and we need to learn it quickly. That’s one of the main messages in Marine Litter Vital Graphics. Another important message is that we already know enough to take action. Produced by UNEP and GRID-Arendal, this report shows that we have to take a hard look at how we produce and use plastics.
The Great Lakes Land-based Marine Debris Action Plan is a road map for strategic progress in making the Great Lakes, its coasts, people, and wildlife free from the impacts of marine debris. The associated Action Summary Reports outline yearly progress.
Ocean Cleanup - Quantifying Global Plastic Inputs from Rivers into Oceans
by Laurent Lebreton, June 7, 2017
Quantifying plastic pollution in the world’s ocean requires a good understanding of sources. It is commonly accepted that most plastic found in or near the marine environment is coming from land-based sources. Rivers particularly may play an important role in transporting mismanaged plastic waste from land into the ocean.
Our study, published today in Nature Communications suggests that the global riverine system is contributing
between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons per year of plastic waste into the world’s ocean. We found that two
thirds of this input were generated by the top 20 most polluting rivers and that these were mostly located
on the Asian continent.
The Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Federal Advisory Committee advises the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior on ways to strengthen the nation's system of MPAs. It includes representatives of diverse stakeholder groups, including scientists, academia, commercial fishermen, anglers, divers, state and tribal resource managers, the energy and tourism industries, and environmentalists, among others. MPA Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) meetings are open to the public and provide opportunities for public comment. All products are posted at: http://marineprotectedareas.noaa.gov/fac/
SafetyNEST recently launched its minimum viable product (MVP) for feedback from expectant women recruited by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. The just published report outlines results and recommendations from the June 1 – September 30, 2016 testing phase. Read what they learned.
NOAA - What We Know About Series
One of the main types of marine debris that you hear about today is plastic marine debris. In many places, it is the main type of debris that you will see as you walk along a beach, though perhaps not underwater. As common as they are on our beaches and in our homes, how much do you really know about plastics?
Download and print fast information on marine debris, the "garbage patch," the Marine Debris Program, and other hot topics.
NOAA, Protecting Our Marine Treasures - Sustainable Finance Options for U.S. Marine Protected Areas Recommendations from the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee January 2017
The Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Federal Advisory Committee advises the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior on ways to strengthen the nation's system of MPAs. It includes representatives of diverse stakeholder groups, including scientists, academia, commercial fishermen, anglers, divers, state and tribal resource managers, the energy and tourism industries, and environmentalists, among others. MPA Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) meetings are open to the public and provide opportunities for public comment.
Ocean Conservancy – Top trash items collected
The passionate volunteers who participate in the International Coastal Cleanup each year don't just pick up trash that endangers the health of humans, wildlife and coastal economies; they count every item as well. The resulting item-by-item, location-by-location Ocean Trash Index that Ocean Conservancy compiles each year provides the only global snapshot of the marine debris littering coasts and waterways around the world. This infographic shows the top 10 items found. Help keep these everyday items out of the ocean. Be informed and join the effort.
Ocean Conservancy - Stemming the Tide: Land-based strategies for a plastic- free ocean
Plastic debris has emerged as a truly global challenge. Recent research highlights the urgency of preventing unmanaged plastic waste from reaching the ocean, a problem known as plastic-waste leakage. This report focuses on land-based solutions to preventing leakage. The report analyzes how plastic leaks into the ocean, as well as research on near-term solutions and their economics. There is an urgent need to embrace and deploy of these measures now, simultaneous with a dialogue on more systemic changes in the way plastic is produced and used.
Plastic Ain’t So Fantastic - Plastic Statistics are presented for worldwide use of plastics and also a specific focus on Australia - both general use and bottled water specifically. Their message is Prevention is better than a cure.
Packard Foundation - American Millennials: Cultivating the Next Generation of Ocean Conservationists
The Millennial Conversation: Human and civil rights, climate change, the economy, education are top issues of concern • Oceans are not part of the current conversation • More motivated by animal welfare than the environment • Prefer and place value in people action (individually AND collectively) over institutional action • Recognize problems with the ocean, especially oil spills and plastic trash, but do not have a sense of urgency about them.
Plastic Ban List
The Plastic Ban (Better Alternatives Now) List identifies California’s most dangerous plastics, including plastic bags and readily-available alternatives. It was released just before the 2016 election by The 5 Gyres Institute, Clean Production Action, Surfrider Foundation, and UPSTREAM. The top 15 offenders include food wrappers and containers, plastic bottle caps, and plastic bags. The report supports Proposition 67, which bans the use of plastic bags in the state.
A Question and Answer exchange between different schools and the North Pacific Expedition team. Q&A includes information on the Pacific Plastic Patch, How the ocean currents bring debris together, Sources of plastic debris, Plastic pellets among others queries.
Find the latest essential reports on plastic contamination of the seas.
Plastic Disclosure Project - Valuing Plastic Report.
In June 2014 the Plastic Disclosure Project, Trucost and UNEP published 'Valuing plastic: the business case for measuring, managing and disclosing plastic use in the consumer goods industry', at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya and simultaneously at the Plasticity Forum event in New York.
The research was the first-ever assessment of the environmental costs of plastic in business. It calculated the amount of plastic used by stock exchange listed companies in sixteen consumer goods sectors and assessed levels of corporate disclosure on plastic. Trucost calculated the total natural capital cost of plastic in the consumer goods industry to be more than US$75 billion per year. This cost comes from a range of environmental impacts including the harm done by plastic litter to wildlife in the ocean and the loss of valuable resources when plastic waste is sent to landfill rather than being recycled.
Executive Summary translated courtesy of UNEP: French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic
Amidst oil spills, earthquakes, floods, epidemics and climate change controversies, this fact sheet presents the case for how dangerous and excessive use of plastics can be a disaster to the environment.
Save Our Shores addresses ocean pollution, particularly with regard to plastics, through: Beach and River Cleanups, Marine Education, Advocacy and Prevention. This factsheet provides information on the Truth of Plastic, Impact of Plastic Pollution on Animals, Impacts of Plastics on Humans, A Global Perspective, Consumption of Plastic and the Cost of Plastics on Communities.
Solutions to Plastic Pollution by Rebecca Prince Ruiz
Supported by THE WINSTON CHURCHILL MEMORIAL TRUST OF AUSTRALIA Report, 2015 Churchill FellowRebecca Prince-Ruiz investigated innovative programs for raising awareness, management and solutions to the plastic pollution problem.
State of California - Bag bans reduce energy use and waste
On September 30, 2014 California became the first state to ban the use of plastic bags in stores, leading to a barrage of misinformation from various media outlets claiming the ban would actually hurt the environment. However, these contrarian claims are undermined by research showing that previous bans and taxes have reduced energy use and litter, while doing no harm to the economy. This report busts the myths about the plastic ban and gives the facts.
Surfrider Foundation – Rise Above Plastic
A step by step guide to creating positive change in your community through reducing single-use plastics. A The RAP Toolkit is focused on establishing a plastic bag ban in your town. It also offers insight on increasing awareness of plastic pollution issues through fact sheets, education and outreach.
Learn the hard truth about disposable items. The biggest environmental impact of disposables happens even before they’re purchased. The report gives the pros and cons of different materials to help you make the best decision
for your situation.
UNEP - MARINE PLASTIC DEBRIS AND MICROPLASTICS Global lessons and research to inspire action and guide policy change 2016
This report was prepared at the request of the first United Nations Environment Assembly, which took place 23-27 June 2014, hosted by UNEP in Nairobi, Kenya (Resolution 16/1). It is intended to summarize the state of our knowledge on sources, fate and effects of marine plastics and microplastics, and describe approaches and potential solutions to address this multifaceted conundrum. Plastic litter in the ocean can be considered a ‘common concern of humankind’. The report is divided into four main sections: Background, Evidence Base, Taking Action, and Conclusions and Key Policy Needs. The Background section describes the rationale for the report, noting that marine plastic litter is a global concern, and
summarizes the UNEA process. This is placed within the context of existing governance frameworks, at international and
regional scales, and linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals under Agenda 2030.
The root causes of the ocean plastics problem are found at each stage of the value chain – and so are the potential solutions. Based on published data, extensive research, and expert input, ten interventions have been identified to address marine plastic pollution across the value chain; seven are impact investment strategies.
Philanthropist Paul G. Allen funded this report in response to concerns around declining ocean health. With the millions of metric tons of plastics being dumped into our ocean annually, this report identifies potential investments that can most efficiently and effectively help to disrupt the plastics supply chain and prevent plastics pollution in the
Worldwatch Insitute Global Plastic Production Rises, Recycling Lags
New Worldwatch Institute analysis explores trends in global plastic consumption and recycling