Plastic Reduction Resources

Here are some helpful videos, links to articles related to the plastic problem and what to do about it, and first-person stories on source reduction efforts.

If you have a personal story to tell about how you are working to address the problem with plastic, send it in (preferrably with photos) to

Helpful videos

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

NBC news reports on one of the molst little known, but greatest environmental catastrophes in the world today.

What really happens to the plastic you throw away?

In this animated video, Emma Bryce traces the life cycles of three different plastic bottles, shedding light on the dangers these disposables present to our world.

The Plastic Ocean

A heartwrenching (and at times disturbing) video from the United Nations on the amount of plastic in the ocean.

How Much Plastic is in the Ocean?

A PBS video on what can you do to make the oceans plastic-free.

The Battle of the Bag

A CBC documentary on international efforts to prohibit plastic bags.

The Story of Bottled water The Story of Bottled Water

From The Story of Stuff Project, an illustrative animated video on bottled water and how to avaoid buying it.

The Plastic Gyre

A Special Edition series for GSU TV exploring the perils of plastic pollution and the great plastic garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Takeout Takes a Lot of Trash

Takeout food generates an enormous amount of single-use wate, but it doesn't have to.


Articles and Websites

Microplastics Found in Human Stools

Austrian scientists monitored and tested stool samples from eight study participants from different countries and all of them tested positive for at least one form of microplastic.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press
European Parliament Approves Ban on Single-Use Plastics

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a ban on single-use plastics such as straws, plates, cutlery and cotton-swab sticks in Europe by 2021, joining a global shift as environmentalists emphasize the urgency of halting the use of materials that are detrimental to the planet.

Ocean Plastic Pollution - Why Our Clothes Are Part of the Problem

More than ever, our clothes are made of plastic. Synthetic plastic fibers such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibers are now about 60 percent of the material that makes up our clothes worldwide. And guess where they end up after being washed?

Pakistan Urges Innovative, Cost-Effective Solutions to Tackle Plastic Pollution

WWF-Pakistan initiated a national competition in collaboration with UN Environment Program’s Clean Seas campaign,as a three-staged start-up competition aimed at supporting technology oriented solutions that provide innovative solutions for mitigation of plastic pollution.

Cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

A massive floating boom has been designed to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and is currently being tested. The Ocean Cleanup project hopes to reduce the amount of plastics in the world's oceans by at least 90 percent by 2040.

Scientists Hope New Enzyme Will Eat Plastic Pollution

Researchers from Britain's University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) made the discovery of a plastic-eating enzymewhile examining the structure of a natural enzyme.

Beer, Drinking Water And Fish: Tiny Plastic Is Everywhere

Microplastics" are as objects smaller than 5 millimeters .They're in oceans, rivers and lakes. They're also in soil, drinking water, beer,sea salt, fish and shellfish.

Plastic pollution: a new source of warming gases hidden in waste

Young researcher Sarah-Jeanne Royer set out to measure methane gas coming from biological activity in sea water. Instead, in a "happy accident" she found that the plastic bottles holding the samples were a bigger source of this powerful warming molecule than the bugs in the water.

An Indian State Bans Plastic Bags, Straws and More

From June to September, monsoon rains fall on Mumbai, India's largest city, but they also bring an unwelcome visitor: tons of garbage with most of it plastic. Now the government is taking action with a ban on plastics.

Each Day, Americans Use an Estimated 500 Million Straws

A curious fourth grader who had just started an environmental project to discourage restaurants from providing straws, came up with the statistic of 500 million straws per day How did he figure this out?

Starbucks is Eliminating Plastic Straws

Starbucks announced on July 9 that it will phase out plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020. The changes will help Starbucks eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws per year.

The Last Straw for Plastic Straws

Slurping up smoothies, sodas and slushies through disposable plastic straws could one day become a thing of the past. The call to toss plastic straws out of our food system is growing louder and louder.

The Plastic Pollution Coalition

The Plastic Pollution Coalition is a growing global alliance of individuals, organizations, businesses, and policymakers working toward a world free of plastic pollution.

Oceans Are Drowning In Plastic The Oceans are Drowning in Plastic and No One's Paying Attention

A good overall article from the Huffington Post on how we are being overwhelmed by our waste.

Re-using Plastic Bags

Wonderful and totally do-able. Simple guidelines with pictures on easy ways to wash, dry, and store used plastic bags.

Plastic Pollution Is Killing Coral Reefs, 4-Year Study Finds

A sobering new study shows that reefs in four countries, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar are heavily contaminated with plastic that is killng them.

Europe to Ban Plastic Cutlery, Straws and More

The European Commission wants to ban 10 single-use plastic items that make up 70% of all litter in EU waters and on beaches, including cutlery, straws, plastic plates, drink stirrers and cotton buds.

Earth911 Recycling Guide

The best way to recycle packing peanuts, plastic bags, cap & lids, jugs & bottles and plastic wrap & film: Earth911 Recycling Guide (click on Plastic)

Now and Forever: The Styrofoam Dilemma

While it is possible to recycle the plastic foam, the cost is prohibitive and the material seemingly lasts forever.

NOAA Marine Debris Program

Plastics can enter into the marine environment a number of ways: through ineffective or improper waste management, intentional or accidental dumping and littering on shorelines or at sea, or through storm water runoff.

McDonalds to Ditch Foam Packaging

By the end of 2018, McDonald's says it will ditch foam cold-beverage cups and trays in every location around the world. The company also plans to use 100% recycled fiber-based packaging globally by 2020.

Dunkin’ Donuts to Eliminate Foam Cups Worldwide in 2020

As part of its commitment to serve both people and the planet responsibly, Dunkin’ Donuts, a leading retailer of hot, brewed coffee, announced plans to eliminate all polystyrene foam cups in its global supply chain beginning in spring 2018.

Nearly Every Brand of Bottled Water Contains Microplastics

In 93% of plastic water bottles, researchers found more than 10 pieces of plastic thicker than a human hair and hundreds of smaller pieces.

Earth Day 2018 - End Plastic Pollution

Earth Day Network announced that Earth Day 2018 will focus on mobilizing the world to End Plastic Pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate single use plastics along with uniform regulation for the disposal of plastics.

Malibu Moves To Ban Single-Use Plastic

The city of Malibu, CA is moving to ban single-use plastic straws, utensils and stirrers to reduce the harmful effects on the environment.

New York Introduces Bill to Ban Plastic Bags

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York state embraced a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, introducing a bill to outlaw them by next year.

The Issues, Facts, and Possible Solutions on Plastic in our Oceans

Just like when your dentist says you can avoid further problems with your gums if you brush better and floss often, a change in how we live could be the catalyst for cleaner oceans in the future.

Even Your Sea Salt Contains Microplastics

Sea salt may be healthy and rich in minerals, but a new study found it is also rich in plastic. A team of researchers tested 17 sea salt brands from eight different countries and found that only one brand was plastic-free.


User Success Stories

PNW February 2016 Newsletter One Piece at a Time

Karuna details how folks in Seattle have dealt with the seeming indestructibility of plastic.

Reusing grocery bags Reusing Grocery Bags

Beth Adler has committed to bringing her own, reusable grocery bags to the store

Buying Less Plastic - Part 1 Dishsoap

An average family without a dish washer could go through at least a bottle of Eco dish detergent a month. Vandita Smith details how you can make your own dish soap and never have to buy a plastic bottle of it again.

Buying Less Plastic - Part 2 Multipurpose Cleaner

Vandita Smith explains how to make homemade Multi-Purpose Cleaner that is incredibly cheap to make and very effective. This article shows how much the average family spends in N. America. It’s a surprising amount.

Buying Less Plastic - Part 3 Laundry Detergent

By making our own recipes instead of buying commercial detergent products, we reduce the burden of harmful chemicals on the environment, along with reducing purchase of single use plastics. As we change our habits, we influence others. Vandita Smith explains how you can make your own laundry detergent.

Buying Less Plastic - Part 4
Buying Less Plastic - Part 4 Hand Sanitizer

Overuse of antibacterial ingredients - like triclosan - is helping create superbugs. Our increasing obsession with avoiding germs could actually be making us sick. Softeners are also designed to stay in clothes and not fully rinse out, which means lingering chemicals come into contact with skin. Vandita Smith shows how you can make your own eco hand sanitizer .

Reusing Plastic Bags to Create Sleeping Mats for the Homeless

This article shows how to reuse plastic bags to create plastic sleeping mats for the homeless. The mats are made out of PLARN (Plastic Bag Yarn).

We've Got the Health of the World In Our Hands

A musical rendition of how we've got to reduce and replace by MA Center DC's Amrita Bala Kendra.

Pacific Northwest Tackles Plastic Source Reduction

The 3 Step Plastic Challenge is now underway and the Northwest Region is off to a rockin' start! Read about an effort for a statewide beach clean-up on March 24, focusing on plastic cleanup at Nye Beach in Newport,OR.

World's First Plastic-Free Aisle Opens in Supermarket

A Guardian investigation revealed that UK supermarkets were a major source of plastic waste, producing 1m tons a year. Now shoppers in Amsterdam will get the chance to visit Europe’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle.

5 Ways MA Center Atlanta is Implementing Source Reduction

From forming a recycling program for hard-to-recycle items, to conducting an ashram audit for plastic, to increasing awareness of plastic usage, MA Center Atlanta is addressing plastic source reduction.

Make Your Own Non-Plastic Wrap

Here is an easy-to-use recipe for using beeswax and fabric to make an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic wrap.

Small Things Matter - One Person's Response to Plastic Reduction

Small things matter, when each individual does it, this small thing can become so large, the scope of impact could be global.

Bringing Source Reduction to the Farmer's Market

One person extends source reduction awareness through a local farmer's market with gratifying results.

Pacific Northwest Does Source Reduction in Amritapuri

The PNW keeps finding more ways to make an impact locally and abroad


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