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Plastic Reduction Resources

Here are some 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 (preferably with photos) to info@greenfriendsna.org.

Articles and Websites

Our Plastic Problem and How to Solve it

PBS Newshour: An inertatcive video discussion on plastic straws. A movement to ban the use of plastic straws in restaurants is spreading across the United States.

Plastic fibers and beads in dusts collected from remote National Parks. Credit: Janice Brahney Utah State University vis Scientific American

Thousands of Tons of Microplastics Are Falling from the Sky

Scientifc American: New research helps unravel how vast amounts of plastic particles travel both regionally and globally on the wind.

Plastic Has a Big Carbon Footprint

NPR - Emissions from plastics production and incineration could account to 56 billion tons of carbon between now and 2050 - almost 50 times the annual emissions of all of the coal power plants in the U.S.

Plastic fishing nets The Dangers of Plastic Pollution to Marine Life

The garbage that humans leave behind as a by-product of civilization and consumption is becoming an environmental hazard not only to the land, but also to the world's oceans, seas, and waterways.

Micrsoplastic found in the Pyrenees Microplastic Found Even In The Air In France's Pyrenees Mountains

NPR - Surprisingly high amounts of microplastic are raining down on France's Pyrenees mountains, according to scientists who say such particles could potentially be floating everywhere.

It’s Time to Rethink How Recycling is Done It’s Time to Rethink How Recycling is Done

China doesn’t want to sort your trash anymore. The NIB explains the recycling crisis.

More Plastic Than Fish in the Sea by 2050

The Guardian - As a record-breaking sailor, Dame Ellen MacArthur has seen more of the world’s oceans than almost anyone else. Now she is warning that there will be more waste plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, unless the industry cleans up its act.

A List of Every City in the US to Ban Plastic Bags - Is Yours Included?

Forbes Magazine says there are estimates that a plastic bag has a 12-minute lifespan from when it's initially filled with groceries at the grocery store to when it is discarded. Here is a list of 349 known cities, counties, and states to have, in some way, banned or taxed plastic bag use.

Undercover Plastic Detective Undercover Plastic Detective

Anita Horan goes undercover to a recycling plant in Australia to try and unravel the secret the plant is trying to hide. Is recycling an effective method to deal with the enormous amount of waste that we constantly generate?

Using Plastic-Free Produce & Bulk Signage to Reduce Plastic Consumption

Nature has amazing packaging. Fruits and vegetables like bananas, avocados, lemons, potatoes, etc. in a plastic bag is totally pointless. Eva Pollard and Rebecca Miller use signs in the produce dept. to encourage shoppers to go plastic-free.


Tiny Plastic Is Everywhere Beer, Drinking Water And Fish: Tiny Plastic Is Everywhere

NPR - 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.

Are all plastics bags recyclable? What Kinds of Plastic Bags Can be Recycled?

Are all plastics bags recyclable? Are their differences between plastic bags? How are you supposed to know? This great resource explains both where and how to recycle plastic bags.

Last Straw for Plastic Straws The Last Straw for Plastic Straws

NPR - 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.

Plastic pollution Plastic Pollution: a New Source of Warming Gasses

BBC - Researcher Sarah-Jeanne Royer set out to measure methane gas coming from biological activity in sea water. Instead, 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 An Indian State Bans Plastic Bags, Straws and More

NPR - 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.

Americans Use an Estimated 500 Million Straws Each Day, Americans Use an Estimated 500 Million Straws

NPR - 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.


Re-using Plastic Bags Re-using Plastic Bags

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

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

Earth911 Recycling Guide
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)

NOAA Marine Debris Program
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.

Microplastics in teabags Most Commerical Tea Bags are Filled with Microplastics

PBS - Tea bags: Forget about sugar. There could be something else in your cup of tea: microplastics. A recent study showed billions of microplastics in a single tea bag.

Solutions on Plastic in our Oceans 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.

Every Brand of Bottled Water Contains Microplastics Nearly Every Brand of Bottled Water Contains Microplastics

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

Even Sea Salt Contains Microplastics

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 Poole 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 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 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
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. 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 .

Making sleeping mats from PLARN Reusing Plastic Bags to Create Sleeping Mats for the Homeless

This article shows Edmunds OK reuses 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 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 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, focusing on plastic cleanup at Nye Beach in Newport,OR.

MA Center Atlanta addresses plastic source reduction 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.

MA Center Chicago and the Plastic Challenge MA Center Chicago Responds to the Plastic Challenge

Individuals from the Chicago ashram step up to the plate to implement source reduction

Beeswax alternative to plastic wrap Make Your Own Non-Plastic Wrap

MA Center Atlanta provides an easy-to-use recipe for using beeswax and fabric to make an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic wrap.

Small steps can lead to big change 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.

Extending source reduction awareness through a local farmer's market Bringing Source Reduction to the Farmer's Market

Diya Heal and Richard Heal extend source reduction awareness through a local farmer's market with gratifying results.

PNW keeps finding more ways to make an impact locally and abroad Pacific Northwest Does Source Reduction in Amritapuri

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


Any reference in this website to a specific product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by GreenFriends North America or MA Center.


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