That plastic straw in your morning iced coffee or lunchtime soda? It’s not so innocent. Americans use more than 500 million straws every day. Many end up in the ocean (along with plastic bags), where sea life accidentally consumes them. Nearly 90 percent of the debris in oceans is plastic.
To battle the problem, the Earth Day Network, the nonprofit behind Earth Day, is focusing on plastic pollution in 2018. Go to to join the fight. And check out these states for inspiration.
In with support from the environmental group Lonely Whale, Seattle has become the nation’s first major city to ban the use of plastic straws. By July, the city won’t allow restaurants or other businesses to offer them, a
move expected to save 1 million straws a month. Lonely Whale’s Strawless in Seattle campaign and #StopSucking social media challenge urge other big cities to get on board.
Plastic bags are the most common beach litter in after cigarette butts. Students in a University of Delaware master’s seminar called Debating Marine Conservation created a program called Businesses for Better Bags. The students part-
nered with the Fashion and Apparel Studies department and designed four reusable bags for local businesses to sell. The hope is the movement will go statewide.
After graduating from Virginia Tech determined to live a zero-waste lifestyle, Gabriella Jacobsen, now 23, developed an eco-friendly reusable tote bag made from 100 percent organic cotton. It’s decorated with low-impact dyes and sewn in a fair-trade factory that employs Americans with disabilities. A percentage of the profits from the sale of the bags, made by her company, Green Upward, goes to Arcadia, an Alexandria,
organization that promotes sustainable food systems.
lewesplasticbag project.weebly.com Virginia, greenupward.com
Here’s a win-win: EcoVet, in