Research estimates that 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean each year posing a significant threat to marine wildlife and entering the food chain. Another study by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Plastic does not biodegrade, but breaks down into smaller pieces which are then eaten by marine life, including plankton.
Through partnerships with Lonely Whale Foundation and Jr. Ocean Guardians, Ocean Elders supports efforts to reduce the use of plastic. Lonely Whale’s “Strawless in Seattle” campaign, the first of its kind, led to the elimination of 2.3 million plastic straws from the city’s waste stream in September 2017. The city of Seattle also announced that it will ban plastic straws and plastic utensils in July 2018. Other cities have committed to this campaign and will be announced soon. Ocean Elders has also actively supported the Jr. Ocean Guardians “No Straw November” campaign to eliminate straws for the month. The California cities of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz and others joined the campaign and are considering longer term bans.