Dear Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé Waters

Download: Albatross Coalition Coca-Cola letter 2017 01 19

We are writing to you as co-chairs of Save the Albatross Coalition, a campaign of non-profit Zero Waste USA. Our mission is to prevent plastic discards from leading to the death of more than 200,000 Laysan Albatross chicks each year in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which was recently expanded to the entire Hawaiian Archipelago including Midway Atoll and Laysan Island.

We are especially interested in redesigning plastic bottle caps, which are some of most highly littered items impacting sea life. If you have not yet seen the photo of a deceased albatross with a belly full of plastic – including bottle caps, please visit our web site: or the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Laysan Albatrosses’ Plastic Problem page at:

In addition to killing wildlife, bottle caps are blight to our beaches, our parks and our neighborhoods. They are commonly found floating in rivers and streams flowing throughout this great country and around the world, which of course all ultimately lead to the ocean.

Though we would like to do away with the single use plastic bottle and cap, we understand that solution is not immediately feasible. Therefore, we propose a pragmatic measure that we think would be beneficial to all stakeholders – including plastics manufacturers, retailers and recyclers. Keep the lid leashed to the bottle! We understand that because the density of the plastics in the bottle and the cap are different and are easy to separate, plastic bottle recyclers support this simple redesign.

Our next steps are to take this important issue to the media and draft legislation. We invite Coca-Cola to join our effort and to initialize the redesign process.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. We look forward to your prompt reply.



Captain Charles C. Moore
Founder, Algalita Marine Research and Education
Long Beach, CA
Neil Seldman
President, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Washington, D.C.

Dear President Obama

Download: Albatross Coalition President Obama Letter 2017 01 16

Dear President Obama,
Thank you for expanding the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument to the largest in the world and, at the September Our Oceans Conference, designating the first Atlantic Ocean Monument – the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. We, the Save The Albatross Coalition, were also pleased to hear you say that humanity is “…asking far too much of our ocean in asking it to adapt to us.”

You, also praised Midway Atoll restoration efforts, noting the island is now teeming with three million birds. In fact, Midway has the largest Laysan Albatross colony in the world. Unfortunately, these birds are threatened with extinction because of the unintended consequences of our discarded plastics. A two-year study funded by the EPA reported that of the 500,000 Albatross chicks born on Midway Atoll each year, 200,000 die, most from dehydration or starvation. Many in this group had twice as many plastic pieces in their stomachs as those that died from other causes. Although adults can regurgitate the plastic, chicks cannot.

In addition, an estimated 100,000 other marine animals, such as whales, seals, birds and turtles, die every year after becoming entangled in or ingesting plastic debris. According to a recent study, by 2050 the amount of plastic in the ocean is expected to outweigh the amount of fish, pound for pound.

The Midway Atoll Albatross chicks are our “canaries in the coal mine”. Because our nation is one of the highest contributors of ocean plastic, the USA must, as you said, share the “… sacrifices broadly and fairly and justly…” We believe the genius of our scientists and engineers, along with the creative ingenuity and wisdom of our citizens, can lead the way. But we must mobilize rapidly to solve this now ubiquitous problem.

Accordingly, we are calling for a multi-faceted, well-organized and coordinated federal, state and local plan employing common sense, practical solutions through legislation, regulation, policy changes and public education to result in a swift reduction of the plastic input into the ocean by 2020.

We propose that this plan employ the following strategies:  

  1. Waste minimization by consumers, businesses and the government including the avoidance of single use products;
  2. Leashed bottle caps and other extended producer responsibility (cradle to cradle) initiatives for polluting, hard-to-recycle and/or toxic products;
  3. Making single use plastics and polystyrene illegal to produce, sell and/or use in coastal states;
  4. Utilization of government, private and corporate funding of infrastructure – such as effective sewer grates and filter systems, water wheels and containment booms at river mouths and bays;
  5. Stepped up cleanup efforts in our sensitive river, stream and wetlands ecosystems, on our beaches and along our coastlines, in our protected waters and monuments such as Midway Atoll;
  6. Grants to study and implement solutions to the problem of land-borne plastics that make their way to the ocean, including studies of water treatment, for example, for the reduction of microplastics that go unimpeded from washing machines into the ocean, becoming part of the ocean food web;
  7. Expanded education of corporation, state and municipality officials; fisherman, boaters, consumers and children about plastic pollution and environmentally sound alternatives;
  8. Mandatory recyclability of plastics and warning labels on single use plastic bottles, where permitted, for example: “Danger: The Improper Disposal of this Bottle and Cap Harms Wildlife – Must be Recycled.
  9. Mandatory adequate and effective waste disposal containers and collection along all U.S. waterways and coastlines.

Again, we are sincerely grateful for your environmental leadership. We also appreciate your closing remarks at the Our Ocean Conference; namely, that we must “insist on human agency — to not give in to hopelessness, or to suggest that somehow these problems are just too big. We can solve them. We just have to have the will to pursue collective action.

We share in your belief that it will take a sincere and significant investment of time and money and heightened diligence by all people, corporations and governments in all countries and in all parts of the ocean. And we must start right now.

We look forward to discussing this with you and your staff. If you would like links to the studies above or any other references, please contact us at the emails below.



Captain Charles C. Moore
Founder, Algalita Marine Research and Education
Long Beach, CA
Neil Seldman
President, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Washington, D.C.

EPA Trash Free Waters

Trash Free Waters (TFW) is a program developed by EPA with the purpose to educate, raise awareness, and encourage trash reduction in oceans and coasts. The public participants in the program include state and municipal governments, NGOs and business.

EPA Aquatic Trash Prevention Compendium

Aquatic Trash Prevention Great Practices Compendium – The Mid-Atlantic States

Ocean Dumping Management

The Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), also known as the Ocean Dumping Act, regulates the transportation and dumping of any material into ocean waters. The MPRSA prohibits or restricts ocean dumping that would adversely affect human health, welfare, amenities, the marine environment, ecological systems or economic potentialities. Generally, ocean dumping cannot occur unless a permit is issued under the MPRSA. EPA’s Ocean Dumping Management Program protects human health and the marine environment, and prevents adverse impacts to other uses of the sea, such as navigation and fishing, from pollution caused by ocean dumping.

Environmental Protection Agency

Marine Debris in the North Pacific

Marine debris degrades ocean habitats, endangers marine and coastal wildlife, causes navigation hazards, results in economic losses to industry and governments, and threatens human health and safety.  EPA Pacific Southwest (Region 9) is tapping existing programs and resources to advance the prevention, reduction and clean-up of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean.  EPA Pacific Southwest activities build upon specific recommendations of the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee by targeting threats and sources of debris and responding to debris impacts.  EPA is initiating a three-pronged effort to reduce sources of marine debris, prevent trash from entering the oceans, and assess the human and ecosystem impacts and potential for cleanup.

NOAA Marine Debris Program


The NOAA Marine Debris Program is the U.S. Federal government’s lead for addressing marine debris. The NOAA Marine Debris Program has developed a strategic plan to help us succeed in continuing to combat marine debris in the coming years. Read more…

The Marine Debris Clearinghouse is an online database that serves as the federal government’s hub of information for marine debris stakeholders. This resource benefits the nation’s coastal managers, researchers, and communities as they work to study and mitigate marine debris and its impacts. It is intended to help improve the state of knowledge on marine debris, promote collaboration, and spark ideas for prevention and mitigation. Read more…