The Plastic Debris Project

Eliminating Land-based Discharges Of Marine Debris In California: A Plan of Action from The Plastic Debris Project

The Plastic Debris, Rivers to Sea Project seeks to minimize the land-based discharges of marine debris. Just like ocean-based marine debris, land-based discharges of human-made debris are comprised mostly of plastics.

The threat and impacts of marine debris have long been ignored. Perhaps it is the perceived vastness of ocean and lack of visibility of marine debris to most people that has allowed society to dismiss the problem as a serious threat. However, recent research demonstrates that quantities and impacts of marine debris are significant and increasing. The Algalita Marine Research Foundation’s investigation of plastic in the North Pacific Central Gyre of the Pacific Ocean showed that the mass of plastic pieces was six times greater than zooplankton floating on the water’s surface. This study is one of many that demonstrate that our oceans have become the virtual garbage can for the developed and developing world.(1)

The Last Plastic Straw

500 million straws are used and discarded every day in the US alone. That’s 175 billion a year filtering into landfills and littering the oceans.

Join a global movement to eliminate plastic drinking straws from our landfills, our streams, our oceans, and our beaches! The Last Plastic Straw strives to educate the public about the absurdity of single use plastic, its effects on our health, our environment, and our oceans. They aim to eliminate from the source, the use of single use plastic.

• Simply request “no straw” at bars and restaurants and share your commitment with others.

• Encourage your favorite restaurant or bar to only provide straws on request and to use biodegradable or reusable options to the plastic straw.


Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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…


Story of Stuff – Micro Bead Ban

Plastic Microbeads:  Ban The Bead!

Microplastics may be small, but they’re causing big problems for our environment and our health. These tiny pieces of plastic used in personal care products are designed to go down the drain and into our lakes, rivers, and oceans — by the billions every day. They absorb toxins in the water, are eaten by marine life, and can make their way up the food chain all the way to our dinner plates.

We knew it wasn’t enough to simply avoid certain products – we didn’t want them to be sold at all. That’s why the Story of Stuff Project waged a major campaign to ban microbeads in California and then the whole United States in 2015 – and won! Thanks to our Community members flexing their citizen muscles, by 2017 it will be illegal to sell a personal care product containing plastic microbeads – a huge victory for our waterways and public health. This policy provides a precedent setting model for the rest of the world to replicate and is an important stepping stone to tackling plastic pollution in our oceans. Learn about banning the bead here!