Packaging stewardship passes in Oregon Senate

Oregon state senators approved the bill on a 16-13 vote. | Borka Kiss / Shutterstock
The upper chamber of the Oregon legislature narrowly approved a bill establishing extended producer responsibility for packaging Wednesday morning. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

Senate Bill 582 establishes a producer responsibility program for packaging, printing and writing paper, and food serviceware. The bill, which was introduced in January, has been moving through the legislative process and reached the Senate floor on June 23.
The Senate approved the bill on a 16-13 vote, which fell almost entirely on party lines, with just one Democrat voting against the proposal. It now moves to the state House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats. If it passes in that chamber, the bill would go to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown for a final signature.
Prior to the vote, bill sponsor Sen. Michael Dembrow, a Democrat, described the fluctuations in the U.S. recycling system in recent years and said they highlight the need for major changes.
The EPR discussion in Oregon, he noted, was triggered directly by China’s decision to restrict and ban certain recovered materials. That led to a recycling market crisis in Oregon, he said.
“As often happens with crises, a crisis occurs and it reveals deep flaws in our system that need to be addressed,” Dembrow said. “What we realized was just how weak our recycling system had become.”
Sen. Lee Beyer, a Democrat and chair of the Senate Committee On Energy and Environment that recommended passage of the bill, spoke to the changes it would make in Oregon’s recycling system. Producers would be responsible for a portion of the costs of recycling their products. Fees would be set by producer responsibility organizations, not by the state Department of Environmental Quality, Beyer said. The state agency will establish a statewide list of accepted materials, however, “so we don’t continue to have it in a haphazard manner,” Beyer said.
Beyer likened the EPR discussion to similar processes to establish Oregon’s 1971 container deposit legislation, which was the first in the U.S., as well as the state’s electronics recycling program, which requires producers to fund collection and recycling of certain devices. These programs generated concerns and opposition prior to passage, he noted, but both have improved recovery of their target materials.
He added that opposition to the Oregon EPR proposal is coming in part from national industry interests that are worried about EPR taking off on a wider scale in the U.S.
“Their concern is that if Oregon establishes this program, as we did with the bottle bill, it will become a national program,” he said.
But Beyer also read from the recent Ellen MacArthur Foundation statement expressing significant corporate support for EPR programs, from major retailers, brand owners and others.
Sen. Lynn Findley, a Republican and vice chair of the environment committee, expressed concerns that the bill does not address recycling market development in Oregon. He said producers were not as active in the policy development discussions as other stakeholders, and he anticipates they will pass recycling costs on to the consumer.
The Oregon Senate approval follows a similar legislative process in Maine, where both chambers of the legislature last week approved a packaging EPR program that will now move to the state’s governor for a possible signature.
More stories about EPR/stewardship

Ocean Plastics: A BLUE Film Screening

BLUE takes us on a journey into the ocean realm, to see for ourselves this critical moment in time when the marine world is on a precipice. Featuring passionate advocates for ocean preservation, BLUE takes us into their world where the story of our changing ocean is unfolding. We meet those who are combating marine pollution and fighting for the protection of keystone species. This film comes at a time when we are making critical decisions that will decide the legacy we leave for generations to come. BLUE shows us there is a way each and every person can make a difference, and the time to act is now.About Jennifer

Jennifer Lavers is a lecturer in Marine Science at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Tasmania. Her research focuses on plastic and chemical pollution of the marine environment, using seabirds as sentinel species.

UN report calls for urgent help for oceans

A new United Nations report calls for an urgent change in the way the world’s oceans are managed.
The report from the International Resource Panel, hosted by the UN Environment Programme, raises concerns that if changes are not made quickly, the consequences will be dire. 
The Governing Coastal Resources Report was launched today at an event addressed by Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean. It outlines the effect land-based human activities have on the marine environment.  
Put into context – 80 per cent of marine and coastal pollution originates on land, but there are very few, if any, truly effective governance mechanisms that manage land-ocean interactions.  The report provides policy makers with options to help reduce the effect of land-based activities on coastal resources and support a transition to a sustainable ocean-based economy.

This should now be a global priority where the most impactful land-based activities are prioritised for urgent action and so generating the most benefit most quickly.

Professor Steve Fletcher, , Professor of Ocean Policy and Economy and Director of the Sustainability and the Environment research theme at the University of Portsmouth

“The report draws together an evidence base that demonstrates beyond question the need for enhanced governance coordination between terrestrial activities and marine resources,” said Izabella TeixeiraandJanez Potočnik, Co-Chairs of the International Resource Panel.
Lead author of the report – Steve Fletcher, Professor of Ocean Policy and Economy and Director of the Sustainability and the Environment research theme at the University of Portsmouth, said: “There is no doubt that the future of our oceans are at risk, and so is the critical role they play in supporting life on Earth and human wellbeing, as well as regulating the climate.  This is a global issue in which isolated interventions will have minimal impact.  Systemic change is the key to success by bringing together countries, governments, business and communities to take collective action.”
Professor Fletcher, who is also Director of the University’s Revolution Plasticsinitiative, added: “We’ve got to stop looking at the problem in a fragmented way – land-based activities in one country may contribute to degradation of coastal resources in another region.  This should now be a global priority where the most impactful land-based activities are prioritised for urgent action and so generating the most benefit most quickly.”

We’ve got to stop looking at the problem in a fragmented way – land-based activities in one country may contribute to degradation of coastal resources in another region.

Professor Steve Fletcher, Professor of Ocean Policy and Economy and Director of the Sustainability and the Environment research theme at the University of Portsmouth

The report sends five key messages to world policy makers: 

Living coastal resources are most threatened by land-based activities.  Agriculture, ports and harbours and aquaculture are particularly impactful activities. 
All parts of the blue economy are vulnerable to changes in coastal resources arising from land-based activities, particularly fishing, aquaculture and tourism. 
Existing land-sea governance approaches cannot cope with the impacts on coastal resources created by land-based activities. 
Land-sea governance urgently needs to be strengthened to protect coastal resources from the impacts of land-based activities and to support the transition to a sustainable blue economy. 
Tackling the impacts of land-based activities on coastal resources is a global priority.  

The report also provides policy makers with five options for strengthening existing land-sea governance structures: 

Ecosystem-based management should be a guiding principle of coastal resource governance as it provides a holistic approach to the consideration of all influences on coastal resources.
Existing area-based management tools, with enhancement and adaptation, should be used to counteract the impacts of land-based activities on coastal resources.
Improved coordinating mechanisms are needed to overcome fragmented governance between sectors and between terrestrial and marine governance arrangements.
Implementation-focused capacity development programmes should be formulated and disseminated to target land-sea governance practitioners.
Filling evidence gaps, particularly related to the impacts of land-based activities on abiotic coastal resources, should be prioritised and their implications for effective governance determined.

Plastic Waste Exports from Wealthy Countries Poisoning People In Africa: Study

A new report has found that toxic chemicals in plastic waste exports from wealthy countries are contaminating food in developing and transition countries around the world, including Africa.
The study by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) found that most of the plastic waste exported from wealthy countries to countries with developing economies or economies in transition is landfilled, burned, or dumped into waterways.
According to the report, all plastics virtually contain hazardous chemical additives.
The report states that these disposal methods result in highly toxic emissions that remain in the environment for decades and build up in the food chain.
Dubbed ‘Plastic Waste Poisoning Food and Threatening Communities in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America’, the study demonstrates how these plastic waste handling methods end up poisoning local populations.
For this study, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in fourteen countries which in many cases receive plastic waste from abroad collected free-range chicken eggs in the vicinity of various plastic waste disposal sites and facilities.
The egg collection sites included plastic and electronic waste yards; waste dumpsites with significant amounts of plastic wastes; recycling and shredder plants that deal with significant amounts of plastic waste; and waste incineration and waste-to-energy operations.
The eggs were then analyzed for dioxin contamination, a highly toxic byproduct of open burning, crude recycling, chemical production, and incineration technologies. Additionally, the eggs were analyzed for other toxic chemicals known as “persistent organic chemicals” (POPs) that have been banned or are in the process of being banned globally through the Stockholm Convention.
“Even small amounts of these plastic chemical additives and byproduct emissions can cause damage to the immune and reproductive systems, cancers, impaired intellectual functions, and/or developmental delays,” the study states.
Egg samples from fourteen countries were analyzed for Plastic Waste Poisoning Food and Threatening Communities in Africa, Asia, Central, and Eastern Europe, and Latin America including: Belarus, Cameroon, the Czech Republic, Gabon, Ghana, China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Philippines, Tanzania, Thailand, and Uruguay.
Commenting on the report’s finding, IPEN’s POPs Policy Advisor Lee Bell said the report confirms that the harm being caused by plastic waste exports is not limited to visible litter and pollution but includes the insidious damage to human health caused by contamination of the food chain in importing countries.
“Toxic chemical additives and the world’s most hazardous substances are literally bleeding into the food supply of those countries least able to prevent it,” she said.
The report found that the levels of dioxin and PCBs in eggs in some locations were so high that residents could not eat a single egg without exceeding the safe limits for these chemicals established in the European Union.
Additional Data
The analyzed eggs were also found to contain some of the most toxic chemicals ever studied, many of which are banned or regulated by international law, including dioxins, and the chemical additives PBDEs, PCBs and SCCPs.
It was also reported that in nearly every open plastic waste site where eggs were sampled, dioxin levels exceeded the European Union safe consumption maximum limit.  In some locations, eggs exceeded the safe limit by tenfold. For dioxin combined with PCBs that are just as toxic as dioxins (so are measured as a combination) all sites exceeded the EU limit with some sites up to sixfold higher.
Additionally, the maximum PBDEs levels in egg samples taken near some plastic waste disposal sites were comparable to the world’s most seriously contaminated e-waste sites in Guiyu, China.
“In one location in Indonesia, the dioxin levels in eggs were at a similar level to eggs sampled on a former US Air Force base in Vietnam which is heavily contaminated by Agent Orange,” the report states.
Very high levels of POPs were also detected at locations where plastics and electronic waste are mixed and then dumped and/or burned to recover metals. The study confirmed that burning this kind of mixture very often leads to much more severe dioxin contamination than open burning of wastes at general dumpsites.
Study co-author and Arnika – Toxics and Waste Programme Director Jindrich Petrlik said, “In the vicinity of the dumpsite in Pugu Kinyamwezi, Tanzania, eating just half an egg would exceed the European Food Safety Authority’s Tolerable Daily Intake limit by 7.5 times. It is unconscionable that people are exposed to such dangerous levels of contamination.”
“Dioxins and other POPs remain in the soil for decades or even centuries, creating a reservoir of highly toxic contaminants that poison the food chain now and will continue to do so for a long time into the future,” he added.
Griffins Ochieng, Centre for Environment Justice and Development, Kenya said, “Africa is not a major plastic or chemical producer. But plastic waste and the contamination that comes with it are growing in Africa. Why? Because wealthy countries are exporting their waste to us. This problem will only grow worse in the coming years if it is not stopped now.”
The report recommends global controls on hazardous chemicals in plastic and an end to plastic waste exports. It also calls on the industry to invest in safe plastic alternatives, eliminates toxic chemical additives to plastics, and create closed-loop systems that don’t create toxic waste.

12 Incredible Ocean Conservationists To Support This June

It often feels like we hear endless stories about how our oceans are under threat, and it’s easy to feel helpless, but you don’t have to be. 
There are literally hundreds of incredible ocean conservation organisations stationed worldwide that are helping to protect our oceans and marine wildlife.
Read on to discover more about the best ocean conservations to support this June, National Ocean Month! 
Sea Shepherds Conservation Society
When we spoke to Sea Shepherd they told us:
“We are an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. We provide ships, equipment, technical advice, and consultation to multiple partners, including local communities and government agencies around the world.
The people of Sea Shepherd are known to be incorruptible, passionate, persistent, professional, cooperative, and effective. Together we fearlessly defend life and diversity in the oceans. Together we ensure that existing laws designed to protect the oceans are upheld. Together we strive to build political will and capacity to ensure that the rest of the world follows our lead.
One of the biggest issues we are currently addressing is the problem of illegal and unregulated fishing. This is a global problem that threatens the health of marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of coastal fishermen. It is estimated that 15-40% of the total global catch of fish is caught illegally. Our organisation works with governments, providing the ships and crews needed to help monitor national waters and address these issues.”
To learn more about volunteering onshore or at sea, visit: 
Surfers Against Sewage
When we asked Surfers Against Sewage to tell us about their work, they told us:
“We’re on the beaches cleaning up plastic hands-on, we’re campaigning to the government and big business to make real change where it really matters, and we’re using our voices to speak up for the Ocean.”
SAS needs governments at #COP26 to acknowledge the pivotal role the ocean plays in sustaining economies and societal well-being and to ensure the protection of coastal communities against climate impacts. This is not just a climate emergency. This is an ocean and climate emergency. We must shout for our blue planet before it is too late.
People can support in so many ways. Head to theSurfers Against Sewage website to find out how to get involved and sign The Surfer’s Against Sewage petition now. 

Plastic Oceans
We asked Plastic Oceans to tell us little more about their mission, this is what they said:
“Plastic Oceans Canada’s mission is to inform, inspire and incite action to solve plastic pollution through its four pillars; activism, advocacy, education and science. 
Our mission is so important because annually over 300 million tons of plastic is produced but over 90% of that plastic is not recycled. On average, one dump truck of plastic enters our oceans every minute. Through our pillars, we aim to create a healthier ocean, for a healthier you. “
Donate to Plastic Oceans and stay up to date by following our social media for any events or initiatives near you!Discover @plasticoceanscanada on Instagram.
When we spoke to PADI AWAREthey told us:
“We drive local action for global ocean conservation, where community and policy are the critical focus areas that define our conservation strategy.”
They have been active in tackling the issue of marine debris through their flagship programme, Dive Against Debris®️. This empowers scuba divers across the world to report on where marine debris is found and remove it. This not only improves the health of local ecosystems, but provides valuable information about underwater debris that is helping to inform policy changes.
Whether you prefer to take action with your fins on or your fins off, join theTorchbearer Community and keep up to date with how you can help tackle marine debris and other issues affecting our ocean.
Ocean Conservancy
Ocean Conservancy, a well known organisation in the conservation community responded with:
“Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.”
The Ocean Conservancy has an extensive list of steps you can take to protect our oceans in their action centre. From protecting the oceans and their wildlife to the artistic circle and overall climate change.Get involved with Ocean Conservancy here. 

Policy reform is super important so we asked Oceana to say a bit more about what they do, they said “Oceana is a nonprofit ocean conservation organisation focused on influencing specific policy decisions on the national level to preserve and restore the world’s oceans.”
With the support of more than 850,000 activists, Oceana has already protected over 3.5 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, and other sea creatures – but there is still more to be done. If you’d like to support their work,donate today to protect marine life and habitats. 

Take 3 For The Sea
Take 3 For The Sea asked, “How can we stop plastic pollution from killing wildlife and suffocating our planet?” In 2009, two friends set about answering this question. 
Marine ecologist Roberta Dixon-Valk and youth educator Amanda Marechal developed Take 3 – an idea where a simple action could produce profound consequences. Joining forces with environmentalist Tim Silverwood, the trio publicly launched Take 3 as an organisation in 2010. “Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway or…anywhere, and you have made a difference.” 
Learn more about what action you can take at Take 3 For The Sea. 
The 5 Gyres Institute
“We are a leader in the global movement against plastic pollution with more than 10 years of expertise in scientific research and engagement on plastic pollution issues. Since we began, the team has completed 19 expeditions, bringing more than 300 citizen scientists, corporate executives, brands, and celebrities to the gyres, lakes, and rivers to conduct first-hand research on plastic pollution” 
5 Gyres is running a range of climate change fighting programmes, or you can donate to support their cause. 
Oceanic Preservation Society
We first discovered the Oceanic Preservaiton after watching a movie on Amazon Prime called Racing Extinction. When asked to give us more info about their work they replied, “OPS inspires, empowers, and connects a global community using high-impact films and visual storytelling to expose the most critical issues facing our planet. By documenting humankind’s formidable impact on the environment, we inspire a global community of change agents.” 
OPS is running advocacy campaigns to help combat the Sixth Mass Extinction, get involved today. 

Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project 
Featured in the recently launched film, Seaspiracy, we had to asked include Dolphin Project in this blog. They said “Dolphin Project is a non-profit charitable organization, dedicated to the welfare and protection of dolphins worldwide. Founded by Richard (Ric) O’Barry on Earth Day, April 22, 1970, the organization aims to educate the public about captivity and, where feasible, retire and/or release captive dolphins.” 
Dolphin Project is focused on saving dolphins, orcas, and other sea mammals both in captivity and in the wild.Join Ric and take action now. 
Bahamas Plastic Movement
“BPM’s mission is to build a community of education and activism around plastic pollution. By empowering Bahamians to contribute to hands-on citizen science and environmental leadership, we aim to evolve mindsets and spark cultural practices that will be pivotal in executing changes at the policy level.” 
Bahamas Plastic Movement is calling educators and students to get involved and share these issues with their classmates.Get involved today. 
“What lies beneath the surface of the thin blue line? This is the story that SeaLegacy tells. This is the story that sparks a global conversation, and the story that inspires people to act. We are a collective of some of the most experienced and renowned photographers, filmmakers and storytellers working on behalf of our oceans.” 
SeaLegacy has created The Tide, a passionate community invested in the health and sustainability of our oceans. You’ll get ready to go behind the scenes on our expeditions to the farthest corners of the planet, to lead the charge in our campaigns, and to witness incredible ocean projects come to life around the world!Join today. 

These non-profit organisations are working non-stop to save our oceans on behalf of all of us. Whether you volunteer your time or simply send a small donation, any involvement is a step towards protecting our blue planet. 
If you’re looking for ocean-friendly supplements that won’t harm the health of our planet, thencheck out Omvits, a clean, ethical and plant-based vitamin and mineral company.

Why PVC remains problematic material

HCWH Europe, with the input and support of Zero Waste Europe, Rethink Plastic and a total of 18 leading health and environmental organisations, has released a paper presenting a detailed insight into the complexity of health and environmental issues associated with the entire life cycle of PVC. All current evidence supports the simple proposition that PVC is problematic and that it presents significant, often avoidable health issues – the paper also includes examples of already successful phase-outs of PVC.

Dorset drone survey finds 123,000 bits of litter dropped in one week

What a rubbish view! Drone survey of Dorset coast finds more than 1.5 TONNES of litter including glass bottles, wet wipes and cigarette butts dropped in just ONE weekDrones found over 123,000 litter items in Bournemouth, Christchurch and PooleThe AI-powered tech scoured the skies over seven days during May bank holidayBCP Council is rolling out fun initiatives to encourage the public to bin their litterThese include glow-in-the-dark bins, ‘ballot bins’ and the world’s first ‘disco bin’By Jonathan Chadwick For Mailonline Published: 10:25 EDT, 24 June 2021 | Updated: 10:28 EDT, 24 June 2021

Groups Renewing Call For Plastics Ban In National Park System

Groups are renewing a call for the National Park Service to ban disposable plastic bottles in the park system/Kurt Repanshek fileThe change of administrations in Washington, D.C., has led to a renewed call for a ban on disposable plastic bottles in the National Park System, along with a commitment from the agency that plastic wastes in the parks be reduced by 75 percent over the next five years.While the Obama administration allowed individual parks to ban sales of the disposable bottles, the Trump administration reversed that move, with then-acting National Park Service Director Michael Reynolds saying “it should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods.”This week Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, GreenLatinos, and Beyond Plastics launched a campaign to prompt the Park Service to renew the ban and work toward a larger effort to reduce plastic wastes in parks. The campaign also includes a petition for the general public to sign on in support of the ban.According to the groups, plastic bottles are the single biggest component of park waste streams. Yellowstone National Park staff and others “estimate that plastic bottles constitute fully half of its entire trash load,” the groups said.”Besides the cost of hauling that trash away, the volume of plastic bottles sold in parks consumes large amounts of energy and adds to the carbon footprint of park operations,” they added. “In addition, parks are contributors to the growing plague of plastic pollution afflicting the planet.”More than 2 million pounds of microplastics, the equivalent of 123 million plastic bottles, settle on national parks and other public lands in the West each year, adding to the growing pollution loads these protected areas carry, according to a 2020 study released by Utah State University researchers. During the fall of 2019, a U.S. Geological Survey report cited microscopic plastic particles found in high-country lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. While Gregory Wetherbee was studying nitrogen pollution in the park, he found that more than 90 percent of his samples contained colorful plastic particles. Some turned up in a lake above 10,300 feet in elevation.During the Obama administration, nearly two dozen parks, including Grand Canyon and Zion, barred sales of plastic water bottles. A Park Service study released in 2017 claimed the ban prevented upwards of 2 million 16-ounce bottles from entering the waste stream on an annual basis.Using an environmental benefits tool crafted in part from peer-reviewed calculations used by the Environmental Protection Agency and data from the National Association for PET Container Resources used to “promote the use of PET and facilitate its recycling,” the Park Service concluded that the 23 parks were responsible for removing 1.32 million-2.01 million 16-ounce bottles from the waste stream. That, in turn, cut between 73,624-111,743 pounds of PET from landfills, resulted in energy savings of 2,209-3,353 million British thermal units per year, and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 93-141 metric tons, the report stated.”As parks continue to implement their (bottle bans), these numbers and the resulting environmental benefits are expected to grow,” the report said.According to PEER officials, the bans were opposed by the International Bottled Water Association, led by Coca Cola, the maker of Dasani bottled water.  “The plastics industry has been dictating park policies for too long,” said PEER Executive Director Tim Whitehouse. “The conservation mandate for national parks should extend through all their operations, including their concessions.”Besides implementing a system-wide ban on single-use plastic water bottles, the rule would reinstitute a goal of reducing plastic usage throughout the park system by 75 percent in the next five years. A similar goal had been draft policy for the National Park Service but had been dropped after hefty charitable donations by Coca Cola, the groups maintained. The proposed rule also requires parks to post their annual assessment of the size, composition, and costs of their waste streams. “President Biden has declared that combatting climate change and addressing environmental justice should be a government-wide priority,” said Mark Magaña, the founding president & CEO of GreenLatinos, an active comunidad of Latino/a/x environmental and conservation champions. “If the federal government hopes to go ‘green,’ a realistic first step and one of the most important places to start is with our national parks.”“I urge the Biden Administration to review the petition and direct the National Park Service to prevent the sale of single-use plastic bottles at their facilities,” said Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator and President of Beyond Plastics. “Single-use plastic bottles pose an unnecessary threat to our National Parks, our environment, and our health.”