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 company CEO speaks out on immigration reform   August 11, 2014 12:15 pm ET
Toyota cutting its fabled 'andon' cord   August 6, 2014 10:04 am ET
Coal-to-olefins may not be an immediate threat   July 31, 2014 10:56 am ET
Who are the fastest growing pipe, profile and tubing extruders?   July 28, 2014 3:09 pm ET
Finding the important economic indicators   July 24, 2014 10:13 am ET
Plastics industry blasted for stance in green building debate   July 22, 2014 2:45 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

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

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

More Events