Trash Free Waters Project to Reduce Plastic Pollution in Long Island

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. Our work with eateries culminated in a Marine Debris Reduction Guide for Restaurants that will help businesses across the country reduce their contribution to marine debris. This Guide complements our Marine Debris Reduction Toolkit for Colleges & Universities,

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.

Get the Plastic Reduction Guide!

With these simple strategies, restaurants will reduce litter, safeguard the quality of food sources, and protect landscapes and wildlife  – all while saving money and helping their business thrive.

What's Inside:

- Restaurant Plastic Footprint Tool

- Foodware Cost Calculator

- Sample Disposable Products Business Policy

- Results from real restaurants

Download the Guide today, and spread the word to your favorite eateries!


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, 8 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.


Participating businesses

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. Look for the Trash Free Waters logo in their windows!

Bruce & Son

Little Creek Oysters





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



February 2017: kickoff meeting

March 2017: measure business's plastic footprint

April - June 2017: develop source reduction plans; purchase supplies;

July - January 2018:  implement source reduction plans

September - December 2017: develop procurement policies and model municipal policies

Spring 2018: release Marine Debris Reduction Toolkit for Restaurants & Eateries


The community behind our project logo

When PSI staff presented the project to the Town Board of nearby Southold, NY in February 2017, the Board offered a creative idea: they suggested we create a “Trash Free Waters” emblem that the businesses can display in their windows or on their menus to market their marine debris reduction efforts.

Later that day, we met the participating businesses in the Greenport School for our project kickoff meeting. Thanks to the meeting location, teachers Stephanie Pawlik and Brady Wilkins were able to join us and volunteered to hold a logo design contest for their students as part of an environmental unit in class. A local artist, Cindy Roe, offered to advise the students and help judge the submissions. The winning logo will be displayed in the windows of the participating businesses, and the runners-up are shown below.

This community collaboration in Greenport is a reminder that, no matter who you are, everyone has their own unique ability to stand up to protect our waterways.

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.


For more information, please contact PSI's Sydney Harris at (617) 236-4771.


PSI's Megan Byers 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.