The Plastics Blog
By Don Loepp | About The Plastics Blog

How much plastic did volunteers pick up in the International Coastal Cleanup?

By Don Loepp | May 14, 2013 11:01 am ET

Image By: Ocean ConservancyThe Top 10 items found in the 2012 International Coastal Cleanup.

Plastic products get a lot of the blame when it comes to marine debris and litter. So what are the facts?

I touched on this topic last week when I wrote: "By volume, single-use grocery bags are not a huge part of litter and marine debris. Look at the results of any beach cleanup, and you'll see that bags are way down the list of problem products." ("Time running out to block bag bans.")

Was I right? I guess it depends on what you consider "way down the list," but I'm going to say no, at least not this year.

Today, the Ocean Conservancy released the results of its 2012 International Coastal Cleanup. The group says more than 500,000 volunteers picked up 10.1 million pounds of trash along 17,719 miles of coastline last year. In the 27-year history of the Coastal Cleanup, that's the third-highest number of pounds.

So how much is plastic?

Quite a bit.

As you can see, the No. 1 culprit remains cigarette and cigarette filters. No. 2 on the list is food wrappers and containers -- obviously a lot of plastic there -- followed by plastic beverage bottles, plastic bags, caps & lids, and cups, and food service products (cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons.)

It's not surprising that single-use items dominate the list. They're the most likely items to end up in litter.

Nicholas Mallos , Ocean Conservancy's marine debris specialist, called the 10 million pounds of trash "an astounding amount," and he urges the public to do more -- not just in cleaning up trash, but to rethink the issue from beginning to end.

"Whether it's the smallest bottle cap to the weirdest finds, like the 117 mattresses collected, every piece of trash affects the health of our ocean, and subsequently our economy, environment and health," Mallos said in a news release.

Ocean Conservancy's partners in the Coastal Cleanup include Coca-Cola Co., National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Altria Group Inc., Dow Chemical Co., Landshark Lager, Glad, Brunswick Public Foundation, Walt Disney Co., CVS Caremark, Teva and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Recent Blog Posts

Plastics industry blasted for stance in green building debate   July 22, 2014 2:45 pm ET
'Genericide' and plastic product trademarks   July 21, 2014 10:52 am ET
Great idea: Family Day at the factory   July 10, 2014 12:14 pm ET
Great moments in plastics inventions: the pool noodle   July 8, 2014 10:44 am ET
Congrats to the Entrepreneur of the Year winners with plastics connections   July 7, 2014 5:29 pm ET
Tubing extruder hosts local politician to discuss ESOP benefits   June 30, 2014 3:38 pm ET

Comments

How much plastic did volunteers pick up in the International Coastal Cleanup?

By Don Loepp

Published: May 14, 2013 11:01 am ET
Updated: May 14, 2013 11:31 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events