Great news from New Jersey! The State Legislature just passed an ambitious new bill (S2515/A4676) that will require minimum percentages of post-consumer recycled content in a variety of packaging products, including rigid plastic containers, beverage containers, paper and plastic bags, trash bags, and glass containers. The new law, which is just awaiting Governor Murphy's signature, will also set incremental increases to the Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) percentages and bans Styrofoam packing peanuts.
In recent years, bills have been introduced to address polystyrene, plastic flatware, single-use water bottles and other plastic packaging. But, none have succeeded. The most efficient way to comprehensively solve the problem of single-use plastics, then, is with a statewide EPR bill.
In our efforts to reduce waste, we have often heard people say that the “real” problem is the people who throw their garbage on the sidewalk and out their car windows. Of course, we agree that we should change this behavior, but the truth is that littering is not the real problem. We need to change the entire system because the plastic trash that floats in the world's oceans actually decompose and release potentially toxic substances into the water.
With Americans' busy lifestyles, often the last thing on people's minds is how much garbage they produce. Few people realize the immense impacts their every day actions have on the environment, particularly marine life.
Single-use products are the main source of trash in our waters. When this garbage is disposed of improperly, it ends up in our stormwater and sewer systems, and ultimately our oceans, which has a devastating impact on marine life. In addition, the manufacturing of plastic products produces enormous amounts of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.
The number of plastic disposables produced has risen from 2 million tons to 380 million tons between 1950 and 2015, half of which has been produced within the last 13 years (The Ocean Conservancy). However, making small changes in our daily lifestyles can reduce our use of plastics.
If you have read the news recently, you have probably seen an article or two about a recent study of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.
I'm so excited to start a new position as the new North Jersey organizer for Clean Water Action’s Rethink Disposable program. I want to mention that I’m a canvasser too. If you live in North Jersey, we may have met at your front door! While I’m canvassing and talking to people all over the state about environmental issues in New Jersey, I love the fact that no matter where I go everyone cares about the environment and tries to do their part in protecting it.
Hello! My name is Kate Triggiano and I am the new Rethink Disposable Coordinator for Clean Water Action's ReThink Disposable program in New Jersey! Rethink Disposable's goal is to minimize the use of single use products: from shopping bags and food and beverage packaging, to plastic straws and water bottles. ReThink Disposable assists businesses by helping them reduce their dependency on single use disposables, while saving money through lower waste collection and supply costs.
Every day in the U.S., people use 500 million straws a day - enough to circle to planet more than two-and-a-half times! Straws are now one of the top 10 marine debris items found on our beaches. And by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
So, what do we do about it?