This Fourth of July, ocean conservation groups want Americans to declare their independence from single-use plastic.
A new report, “Charting a curriculum for plastic-free beaches,” identifies the five biggest culprits polluting beaches and waterways: cigarette butts, plus plastic foam food containers, bags, straws and stirrers and utensils.
Anja Brandon, associate director of U.S. Plastics Policy at Ocean Conservancy, said that non-recyclable plastics break down in the water and cause great harm to wildlife.
„We’re asking for sanctions to eliminate or significantly reduce these five items,” Brandon explained. „Eliminating these five items would reduce 1.4 million tons of plastics each year in the U.S. alone.”
The report advised people to bring reusable water bottles, plates, cups and cutlery to their barbecues and join a nearby clean-up event. A year ago, California lawmakers passed Senate Bill 54All packaging in the state must be recyclable or biodegradable by 2032.
Brandon pointed out that the landmark California law begins the move toward a „circular” economy, where products are designed to be reused or recycled so they don’t end up in a landfill.
“SP 54 should help all manufacturers of single-use products take responsibility for their products and help pay for the recycling or composting of those products,” Brandon outlined. „Also, the bill requires that plastics meet an incredibly high recycling rate of 65%.”
You can find more ways to avoid single-use plastics on the website plasticfreeJuly.org.
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