Rethinking Plastics Program Highlights Growing Plastics Crisis

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Madelyn Woods, Marine Research Coordinator, Marine and Environmental Research Institute discussed the results of micro-plastics sampling in Blue Hill Bay and the sources, fate, and impact of plastics on human health and the food chain to a packed audience at Southwest Harbor Library on January 9. She stressed that plastics, which never breakdown, (only get smaller) are in our air, water, food, and bodies posing very serious health threats.

Carey Donovan of the Zero Waste Committee explained why single use plastic (bottle, bags & packaging) are an important area of focus for local action since it makes up a quarter of the 8 million tons of plastic waste that flows into our oceans each year. ACTT's Jill Higgins and Joe Blotnick shared a few movie trailers and hopeful alternatives to everyday plastic products. Jill shared a vision of working toward a plastic free (or at least a single-use plastic free) lifestyle and brought samples of safe, non-toxic reusable shopping bags, vegetable and bulk food bags, cleaning implements hot and cold reusable beverage containers, and more.

  1. Single use plastics (bags, bottles, packaging) have an average useful life of 15 minutes and last forever. 
  2. Plastics do not biodegrade - they only break down into smaller particles of plastic.
  3. Microplastics are toxic and attract toxins. 
  4. There are easy alternatives to all single use plastics.

Plastics are everywhere. They are inexpensive and extremely versatile. In the last ten years, we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the 20th century! Pollution from macro to microplastics impacts our waters and marine life, but also the human food chain and our overall health.

Over the coming year, the ACTT Zero Waste Committee will be looking into the most effective things individuals, local businesses, and governments can do to promote reusable containers and biodegradable packaging like:

  • Plastic Straw Free Restaurants
  • Water Filling Stations
  • Biodegradable Packaging
  • Reusable Shopping Bags
  • Reusable Coffee and Water Bottles

Please join our efforts and share your ideas to make our island even more environmentally sustainable.

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