Tackling the plastics crisis at the source
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Plastic is everywhere. It’s choking our oceans, melting out of Arctic sea ice, sitting at the deepest point of the seafloor, and raining onto our national parks. It’s in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. It’s greatly contributing to the climate crisis and disproportionately polluting communities of color and low-income communities. Enough is enough. Oceana campaigns to stop plastic pollution at the source — by working to pass local, state, and national policies that reduce the production and use of unnecessary single-use plastic and move toward refill and reuse systems.
Two garbage trucks’ worth of plastic
enters the oceans every minute.
The world is facing a plastic pollution crisis that is increasingly threatening the future of our planet. An estimated 33 billion pounds of plastic enter the ocean every year — that’s roughly equivalent to dumping two garbage trucks full of plastic into the oceans every minute.
The problem is too big for consumers to solve. With plastic production rates increasing and industry continually relying on inadequate solutions like plastic recycling, we’re looking at an alarmingly plastic-filled future — unless companies and policy-makers use their power to change course.
We need companies to dramatically reduce their production and use of this persistent pollutant, provide us with plastic-free choices, and develop systems that refill and reuse packaging and materials. Policy-makers must pass legislation to ensure they do so.
August 31, 2023
Delaware Bans Plastic Foam Food Containers, Limits Plastic Straws
Following campaigning by Oceana and our allies, Delaware enacted a law to phase out plastic foam foodware and reduce other unnecessary single-use plastics. Specifically, the law prohibits restaurants and other food service establishments from providing polystyrene foam food containers, plastic beverage stirrers, and plastic cocktail and sandwich picks, and requires that single-use plastic straws only be provided at the customer’s request. Expanded polystyrene is a form of plastic foam, made from fossil fuels, and is commonly used for food containers and packaging. This disposable packaging is usually thrown away after a single use and breaks up into smaller pieces that are hard to clean up, disperse rapidly due to their lightweight nature, and can persist in the environment for decades. With this new law, Delaware joins a growing list of U.S. states and cities that have taken legislative action to tackle the plastic pollution crisis.
May 8, 2023
New Laws in Oregon Prohibit Plastic Foam and Enable Refill Systems
Following campaigning by Oceana and our allies, Oregon passed two new laws to combat the plastic pollution crisis. The first law phases out polystyrene foam foodware, packing peanuts, and coolers. Plastic foam is not accepted in curbside recycling and is one of the top items found polluting Oregon’s beaches. This type of plastic often breaks up into smaller pieces, disperses easily, and can persist in the environment for centuries. This law will also ban PFAS, nicknamed “forever chemicals,” from food packaging because they accumulate in the environment and pose a threat to human health. The second law requires the state’s health code to enable restaurants to use reusable containers to serve their customers.
April 20, 2023
New Law in Washington State Reduces Plastic Waste
Following campaigning by Oceana, the Plastics Free Washington Coalition, and other allies, a new law passed in Washington that increases access to refillable water bottle options, requires hotels to eliminate single-use plastics for personal care products, and reduces pollution from plastic foam-filled floats and docks. Specifically, it requires that new buildings constructed with water fountains also contain bottle refilling stations; phases out the use of small plastic containers, wrappers, and packaging for personal care items like shampoo or soap by hotels and other lodging establishments; bans soft plastic film-wrapped floats and docks; and mandates a study of hard-shell, foam-filled floats and docks. A 2023 poll conducted by Oceana found that 92% of Washington voters are concerned about single-use plastic products and 87% support local and state policies that reduce single-use plastic.
March 22, 2023
Brazil’s Museum of Tomorrow Becomes Plastic-Free Zone
Brazil’s Museum of Tomorrow (MoT) announced on March 22, World Water Day, that it is now the first Plastic-Free Zone (PFZ) in the country. Oceana collaborated with the futuristic science museum to first establish the museum’s pilot program, which was widely supported by employees and included auditing the disposable plastics used in the museum’s operations, creating a plastic-free event guide, and engaging external suppliers. During the pilot phase, MoT and Oceana found solutions to eliminate most single-use plastic items, such as bottles, cups, bags, and plastic film. As a next step, the museum will extend plastic-free requirements to visitors, marking an end to the sale, use, and distribution of single-use plastics on museum premises.
March 2, 2023
Panama Commits to Reduce Plastic Pollution
Panama announced a bold commitment to reduce plastic pollution during the 8th annual Our Ocean conference in Panama City. The new measures will stop more than 160,000 tons of plastic that is imported and consumed in the country each year, according to the government. Panama plans to eliminate single-use plastic items including utensils and cups in three years. In five years, the country will reduce the import and consumption of plastic packaging by 30%, including plastic foam food containers. In seven years, Panama will reduce the import of virgin plastic by at least 20%, and, in no later than 10 years from now, it will reduce the sale and import of both single-use plastic and virgin plastic by 50%. Oceana was instrumental in achieving this commitment and advised Panamanian officials on effective measures to reduce single-use plastics at the source.
Use your voice to reduce single-use plastics across the U.S.
Tell your members of Congress to support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act and protect our oceans from harmful plastic pollution today!
News & Reports
Around the Web
January 26, 2024
Source: ABC10 News San Diego
January 17, 2024
Source: Tampa Bay Times
January 17, 2024
Source: The Guardian
January 2, 2024
Source: Plastics News