Stopping marine debris at the source
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) is partnering with four local eateries in Greenport, NY to help them voluntarily decrease the disposable plastic items (cups, straws, etc.) that end up on Long Island’s beaches. As a complement to our Marine Debris Reduction Toolkit for Colleges & Universities, our work with eateries will culminate in a Marine Debris Reduction Toolkit for Eateries that will help businesses across the country reduce their contribution to marine debris.
Marine debris is a visible problem in coastal communities like Greenport, and now a wide variety of stakeholders are ready to address it. Check out PSI's blog post on multi-stakeholder collaboration in Greenport to learn more about how a variety of stakeholders are getting involved.
Why are disposable plastics a problem?
Plastic never goes away – it only breaks into tiny pieces which ocean animals mistake for food. That means it can end up in humans when we eat seafood!
According to the Ocean Conservancy, 7 of the top 10 contributors to aquatic trash are single-use plastics like bags, bottles, cups and lids, straws, and plates. When eateries decrease the number of disposables they give to customers, they can help reduce waste, beautify local beaches, and protect the wildlife that support tourism – all while saving money and helping their businesses thrive.
PSI is helping our four partner businesses find affordable alternatives to disposable plastics, develop a voluntary source reduction plan, and educate their customers. We are providing our partners with up to $1,500 each to support their transition costs.
Our 3-step process
1. Assess each business's “plastic footprint”
2. Develop a source reduction plan to find affordable alternatives to disposable plastics
3. Measure plastic reduction and cost savings
Sustainability in the Long Term
Although plastics source reduction varies from business to business, we aim to show that any business can integrate plastics source reduction into their operation in a way that is good for business as well as the environment and public health. This project will culminate in a step-by-step Marine Debris Reduction Toolkit for Eateries that businesses across the United States can use to reduce their own contribution to marine debris.
We will also work with local government officials, tourism boards, chambers of commerce, and other relevant stakeholders to develop model municipal policies (either voluntary or regulatory) to reduce marine debris on a community level.
Having businesses involved shows local governments how source reduction policies can improve their local environment and economy. In turn, helping local governments create effective policies will broaden the opportunity for not only a handful of local businesses, but the entire community to reap the benefits of source reduction. We are striving to create policies that can be replicated throughout the NY region in communities throughout the nation, especially those in coastal regions.
February 2017: kickoff meeting
March 2017: measure business's plastic footprint
April - May 2017: develop source reduction plans
June - August 2017: implement source reduction plans
September - December 2017: develop procurement policies and model municipal policies
February 2018: create Marine Debris Reduction Toolkit for Eateries
For more information, please contact PSI's Megan Byers at (617) 236-4866.
PSI staff conducting a visual survey of marine debris on a Greenport, NY beach.
This project is funded by an agreement (I96275701) awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC).
Although the information in this document has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under agreement I96275701 to NEIWPCC, it has not undergone the Agency’s publications review process and therefore, may not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred. The viewpoints expressed here do not necessarily represent those of NEIWPCC or U.S. EPA nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or causes constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.