A Coalition to End Plastic Waste


Making Sustainable Change is a collaborative effort of America’s Plastic Makers® and partners seeking to end plastic waste. Because plastic is essential to creating a lower-carbon future, building our nation’s essential infrastructure and strengthening our domestic supply chains, we are taking action to prevent it from going to waste.”

Making Sustainable Change is a creation of the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division and its members. These members include some of the largest plastic manufactures in America.

The vision this coalition of corporations has for a sustainable future involving plastics is: “We’re working for a more sustainable future by investing in solutions that can reduce plastic waste while lowering carbon emissions throughout the plastics lifecycle. And our actions toward a low-carbon future go hand in hand with our goal of protecting the environment — we’ve set a goal of making 100% of plastic packaging used in the U.S. recyclable or recoverable by 2030, and eliminating plastic packaging waste by 2040.”

This vision emphasizes the desire to expand recycling capabilities and reduce plastic waste. However, I think it is important to realize what they mean by “reducing waste.” I believe what they suggest is to try rerouting plastic destined for landfills back towards manufactures to be incorporated into new plastic. It is a vision of a circular plastic lifecycle. However, it appears they want the volume of plastic being consumed to remain constant or increase. They make no mention of reducing the amount of plastic being consumed. Further, their advocacy of recycling is in contrast towards organizations that show current recycling approaches to be an ineffective way to reuse plastic. The plastic soup foundation states, “The problem with recycling plastic is that it doesn’t really happen. For example, plastic litter is not separated during collection in The Netherlands. It can’t be used to make the same products again; for example, food packaging that is recycled cannot be used again as food packaging.” You can’t rely on recycling to create a circular economy if the plastic cannot be reused to create the same product again.

“By changing our approach to how we make, use and recapture plastic while emphasizing the value and versatility of a material that enables us to do more with less, we can create a lower-carbon and lower-emission future.”

When reading about this organization, you encounter repeated use of “we.” This implies an extended manufacturing responsibility for plastic. However, their advocacy for recycling shows an extended consumer responsibility for plastic waste. These companies don’t appear to want responsibility for their plastic after it leaves their manufacturing plants.  There is no mention of the environmental externalities of plastic and how they could address them. There is no solution presented for addressing the current plastic in the environment. There is nothing that shows that these companies want to take responsibility for the full lifecycle of their product. Which is needed for a circular plastic lifecycle to exist. The messaging of the organization doesn’t match its actions. I can’t see any meaningful desire to address the plastic problem in the short term from this organization.


Saving The Sea

This world’s focus is on trying to find efficiency around the world and we managed to do that with plastic. But now without a growing population, it has become a world problem and we need to find a way to make it safer for our future generation. The Washington Post talked a lot about how plastic pollution has taken over our ocean and is hurting marine life more and more each day. These single-use disposable plastic items are being used more and more each day due to the pandemic and people need to get off their butts and start doing something to make a solution for the problems we are causing.

26,000 tons of which is now in the world’s oceans, where it threatens to disrupt marine life and further pollute beaches”. We are the ones that have made this a problem and we need to be the ones to fix it. The amount of plastic that has ended up in the ocean is insane. I know that there have been a lot of people volunteering to clean up around them but it’s still not enough. We need to get the word out and spread more awareness so that our world doesn’t end up trashed and destroyed. These findings were found this month and are now linked to the health crisis of the environment and humankind. Wildlife is also another problem. People throw their plastic and their trash out their windows and don’t think about the animals or marine life that it is going to end up hurting. Especially with the pandemic going on, there has been way more plastic disposable used in the last year, and “As of July, there were 61 recorded instances of animals being killed or disrupted by pandemic-linked plastic waste”. We need to start finding alternatives for all the single-use plastic we have been using. I know it’s hard right now with all the health risks due to Covid but finding an alternative or starting to care about the environment around you will help even a little bit.

Another thing that happened due to Covid was “the suspension or relaxation of restrictions on single-use plastic products globally”. Many people are thinking about their health during Covid right now so single-use plastic bands aren’t too much in effect as of right now because people are being selfish and not caring about their environment around them and trying to find a better alternative. Another thing is hospitals have been using single-use plastic much more now for safety reasons and it now accounts for over 70% of the pollution that is discharged into oceans. again I know people are thinking about their safety and health because of the pandemic but we need to be more interactive about finding solutions for these problems because it’s only getting worse by the minute.

This news article was posted just last week on November 10, 2021, which means we haven’t been doing much about it for the past almost 2 years we’ve been in this pandemic. We need to start being selfless and thinking about our environment or else it’s going to be too late and we won’t have much to save.


A Plastic Ocean Review

For this blog, I watched and analyzed well reviewed documentary A Plastic Ocean produced by Jo Ruxton where it goes into details into different experiences with marine life and their interactions with plastics.

The documentary starts out with an analysis of blue whales, yet the most impactful part of this documentary starts right in the first five minutes, depicting the blue whales surrounding and obstructed by the copious amounts of plastic in their natural environments. This type of imagery is featured below, and was continuously presented throughout the field to remind the audience the true intentions and progress the agenda of the film as a whole.

As the documentary continues it depicts different divers stories and accounts that feature their interactions with marine life and the plastic debris that they interact with on a daily basis. The documentary depicts the estimated the 2 million tons of plastic, just from water bottles, that the United States puts into the landfills each year and only continues to detail the problems with population growth and lack of recycling responsibilities.

As the documentary progresses the film projects the lifespan of trash and plastic pollution, using animation to depict how debris, even if found in landlocked lakes or landfills can eventually find their way into streams, eventually landing in our oceans. The documentary continues to use lots of camera and video footage to show the sea floor, with hundred of plastic debris sitting and decaying down where sunlight never hits. Another feature in the film shows a team of marine scientist are interview for the research efforts toward different microplastics in the ocean, which is interesting because the documentary discusses all ranges of pollution and how that would effect the marine life, such as diet or endangerment. The documentary continues to follow the different scientist and first hand accounts that depict their relationship with the ocean, the plastic debris, and the marine life they interact with for their careers and studies. They follow divers, marine conservationist, dietitians, landfill employee’s, parents, and major plastic manufactures in order to understand and highlight that the plastic problem effects every individual in human nature.

Something I really liked about this film was all the underwater media that they presented throughout the film that gives the audience a very real and understandable idea of what is truly under the surface. A major critique on human nature is our inability to really understand what is not put directly in front of our eyes, and it is documentaries and films such as this one that allow people to become more open minded and concerned with the marine plastic pollution issue.

One quote from the documentary that was really impactful was “the plastic is coating our land like a disease” and if I had to pick an overall theme and understandable goal of the film, it would be their intentional language that constructs the audience to deeply understand the tumultuous issue that is the United States major issue with plastic pollution and lack of responsibility for treating marine plastic pollution

Although most industries of information or entertainment have some forms of bias, the only major bias I believe was in this film featured the aggressive progressive attitude towards cleaning the ocean in order to decrease the immense harm that plastic pollution puts onto innocent marine animals. I think the film, although overall heartbreaking to watch, does an excellent job at using different imagery as long as excellent information to grab the audiences attention to promote hope for action.


Seventh Generations Green Features

Seventh Generation is an American company that sells eco-friendly cleaning supplies and personal care items. Seventh Generation produces plant based products made from sustainably sourced ingredients. Their mission is to “create a more healthy, sustainable, and equitable world for the generations to come.” They have many goals in place in order to maintain this mission. One goal  is for one hundred percent of their products and packaging to use bio-based or post-consumer recycled materials. Right now, their packaging is environmentally friendly and is used from recycled materials. The products are non-toxic and don’t contain chlorine bleach, phosphates, dyes, NTA or EDTA. They’ve also designed their packaging to be completely recyclable. Furthermore,  they recently eliminated synthetics in all fragrances and don’t conduct animal testing. 

In addition to producing sustainable products, Seventh Generation also donates ten percent of profits to non-profit community, environmental, and health business organizations. Right when you get to the Seventh Generation website there are tabs that outline their values, products, and their participation in activism. Under their activism tab they outline all of the issues they care about. One of the biggest issues being addressed right now is Line 3, keeping fossil fuels in the ground. Additionally, they have links at the bottom of the page that lead to other websites about climate justice and equity. They also provide links that allow users to get involved in the activism. 

Furthermore, Seventh Generation has another page on their site that outlines their environmental savings on products. Their savings ticker is based on average daily sales for some products in Canada and the US. It details the amount of trees and petroleum saved when you purchase a seventh generation product. The products for trees saved include; paper towels, bath tissues, and facial tissues. The products for petroleum saved include; Liquid Laundry, Free & Clear and all scents, all sizes, dish liquid, all scents and  All-Purpose Cleaner.

Seventh Generation also supports the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign. The campaign is an environmental initiative to get cities in the US to commit to one hundred percent clean and renewable energy usage by 2050. They also have a foundation, Seventh Generation Foundation. The foundation supports community activism and also offers grants to non-profit organizations.  


Global Consumption of Plastic

Pam Longobardi is an artist and activist and a professor at Georgia State University. She is also a professor at Oceanic Society’s Artist-In-Nature. Pam founded the Drifters Project in 2006. After hitting a plastic mountain, the ocean erupted on a remote Hawaiian beach. As part of the Drifters project, she collects, documents, installs, and transforms marine plastics into photos. This piece is a visual representation of the engine of global consumption and the huge number of plastic items and their impact on some of the world’s most remote places and creatures.

Longobardi is the recipient of the Margie E. West Prize. This is a prize given out annually to an alumni of the Lamar Dodd School of Art. She was invited to create a new display at the Marjorie E. West Gallery.

As you can see in this picture, the size of this piece is absolutely massive. These are just a few of the items they have found round the world in even the most remote places. Imagine the amount of plastic items they have found in heavily populated areas of the world. Probably millions of these pieces could be made. It’s so interesting to see artwork made out of a global problem we have nowadays. It really sheds a light to how much us as people of this world waste and either don’t dispose of it properly, or do dispose of it properly it just doesn’t have anywhere to go. This piece specifically by Pam Longobardi is called “Bounty, Pilfered.”

As you can see here, this video, Watch the National Geographic‘s video, shows Pam creating a piece of artwork made from plastic found on the Alaskan coast.

This piece above comes in at 12 ft by 8 ft. It uses 627 pieces of ocean plastic from Hawaii, Alaska, Costa Rica, California, Greece, Indonesia, Belize, Panama, Alabama and Georgia.

Shown here are just a few of the pieces Longobardi and colleagues have worked on. These pieces really capture the seriousness of plastic pollution, while enticing the audience looking at the piece and making it attractive looking. When making artwork, I think it’s especially important to make it look attractive. Especially if you’re trying to send a message to the audience, you should make your artwork colorful and attractive so it catches the audiences eyes. Once it catches their eyes, they can read the description about it off to the side at the exhibition and learn more about plastic solution and why it’s such a big and prevalent problem in the world today.



The Life Cycle of a Shirt

Four months ago, if you asked me about the life cycle of any plastic product, let alone any product, I would have no clue. Something that has always interested me is fashion, and it is crazy how the production of clothes affects the environment. Fun fact fashion is the second-largest polluter!!! Any garment of clothing goes through at least five significant stages: material, production, shipping, use, and finally the disposal. A shirt usually starts on a farm in either America, China, or India, where cotton is made by farming. This means that things like fertilizing, harvesting, and irrigating are involved. Cotton uses more pesticides than other crops, and the pollutants are carcinogenic, which can affect the workers. Crazy, I know!

After the cotton is picked up, it is shipped to a facility where it is spun, knitted, bleached, dyed, cut, and sewed. This stage uses many dyes and bleaches, which contain toxic pollutants that can affect our water system. Once it turns into cloth, it then goes to factories where the shirt is sewn. These people go through horrible working conditions. They barely get paid anything and work long hours. Once the shirt is made, it gets transported to warehouses and retailers. This transportation causes a big carbon footprint which takes up 10% of carbon emissions.

Dhaka, Bangladesh – March 2010.
Garment factory in Dhaka Bangladesh in the Mohakhali area.
Dhaka counts more than 4000 factories producing for export only.
This factory produced garments for the dutch company Hans Textiel.

Once the shirt gets purchased and has a home, it is worn over and over. This means it was washed and dried over and over, and the average person does up to 400 loads of laundry each year. Think about that…lots of water is used. Last but certainly not least of a shirt’s life cycle is when it gets thrown away. Cotton takes years to break down in a landfill, which means harmful emissions are released into the air.

Luckily, you can do many things—starting with not throwing away your clothes and donating them or selling them. Buying second-hand is an excellent way to reduce your impact. Even just after writing this, I am thinking about every shirt that I have purchased, and now I feel guilty. Starting now, I will start buying from companies that aim towards sustainability and buy second-hand (which I already do sometimes), and If I were you, I would too! Recently, I also started selling and donating my clothes instead of throwing them away, so that’s a start.


Event – College of Charleston vs UNC

As I am writing this on November 17th, less than 24 hours since attending the men’s basketball game vs the UNC Tar heels, trash is still littering the area of TD Arena.  Sitting there, in our city, on our own campus, intoxicating the environment.  As I was sitting at the basketball game during half-time, I looked around me and noticed all the single use plastic being carelessly consumed and thrown away, well, on the ground.  Even I was consuming Diet Coke to keep me quenched while I cheered at the top of my lungs.  As I walked by the student entrance to the arena at 6:50 am while on the way to weight lifting, I saw bottles upon bottles, wrappers upon wrappers, and other various trash, upon trash that was mindlessly used and discarded of improperly outside on the ground.  Now, as I am writing this, I have been pondering the idea of how to eliminate the use of plastic at our sporting events on such a small scale, to hopefully have a positive impact on the environment.  Seeing how much trash was created from just one college basketball game only has my mind racing on the thought of the trash generated from sporting events such as SEC football games, and even on a larger scale, professional soccer.



One way we could start to eliminate the litter on the streets that might never get picked up is to provide multiple trash and recycling bins outside where the students stand in line for hours, waiting for entry.  Asking 1,000 students to stand out in the cold miserably for hours, and not excepting people to bring items like food packaging or drinks to keep them satisfied is being unthoughtful and unorganized.  If there were trashcans and recycling bins within reach where people could stay in line, I am hopeful that students would toss their garbage in a proper collector, rather than on the ground.


Another idea that I have is to decrease the consumption of plastic is to serve food items in biodegradable plates with biodegradable utensils.  Completely eliminating the food concessions is highly improbable and unrealistic, an easy swap could be to serve it in a biodegradable fashion so it is less harmful to our Earth once thrown into a landfill, and it has a chance to break down before entering our oceans.



A third possible change could be to completely eliminate the plastic pompoms.  I saw so many pompoms that were used for maybe the pre-show, and half of the first quarter, but then thrown onto the grown, and stomped on by the crowd.  The pompoms may be a cute idea, but extremely pointless, and is a small way we can reduce the amount of plastic used for the event.  It might seem like an insignificant change, but a lot of small changes render big results.


As a college that stands for environmental sustainability, we have the obligation to translate this practice into all of our channels.  Making such a large effort to be sustainable in some aspects of our college, but completely ignored in others is not efficient or very effective.

Floating in the Abyss of Plastic

Mandy Barker is a marine photographer who has won countless awards with her art that involves the use of ocean plastic. Barker’s goal with her art is to help raise awareness for the increased pollution of our oceans with plastics. She graduated from De Montfort University in England, and has been working with plastics for decades.

The following image is from Barker’s collection titled “SOUP.” Based on how scientists refer to the accumulation of microplastics in the ocean as a “soup.” Analyzing this artwork brings in a sense of sadness, because the realization of what we have done to our oceans truly sets in. It is clear that Barker is trying to show off the true effects of what we have done to our oceans. We should be feeling sad and shocked by the pure quantity of garbage we have thrown in it, and we should want to take action. 

Lastly in the below image the artwork is titled “Europe,” for it contains over 622 debris  balls collected from the waters around Europe. The instant connection I felt when viewing these artworks is that these balls almost represent planets. Specifically this artwork is shaped in a flowing matter that reminds one of the intricate designs of galaxies throughout the universe. I believe that the ultimate message that needs to be taken from here is that just like these balls we only have one chance at our true purpose, and if we fail then we will just become another ball in the infinite abyss.

Life Cycle of a Toothbrush


One billion toothbrushes are thrown away each year in the U.S. and most of them are made of plastic, so our plastic toothbrushes are contributing to our huge plastic problem.  It’s an item that almost everyone in the world uses several times a day, making it essential to our daily routine. Normally, you use a toothbrush for 3 months until you throw it away and replace it with a new one. But how is a toothbrush made?

“toothbrush” by dave is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

You can divide the production of the toothbrush into three steps, the handle, the bristles, and the packaging. To make the handle, plastic granules begin to be melted. After liquefaction, the plastic is then injected into a mold for the toothbrush handle using an injection molding machine. To obtain the correct shape for the toothbrush handle, the molds are pressed while the plastic cools. After cooling, the handles can be removed from the mold and the next step can begin. Next, the toothbrush bristles are attached. They are usually made of nylon, as it is soft enough to brush your teeth with but hard enough to use more often. The bristles are then attached to the “head” of the handle and clamped in place. After that, the bristles must be cut, which is usually done with a machine that can cut the bristles exactly to the desired length and shape. After that the toothbrush has to be packed, in most cases, the packaging is a combination of plastic and cardboard.

Now the toothbrush is manufactured and packaged but the journey is far from over because now the toothbrush is transported to the stores and made available for sale to customers. Toothbrushes can be found in any drugstore, grocery store, or you can order them on the Internet. A normal manual toothbrush costs about $1 on average. The toothbrush stays in the store until it is sold. If a toothbrush was then bought it is then used in most cases several times a day. After about three months of use, the toothbrush wears out and loses its effectiveness. Then it is time for the consumer to buy a new one and the old toothbrush ends up in the trash. For the buyer, it now looks as if the life of the toothbrush is over, but, it has just begun. Because it will go about 1000 years until the toothbrush decomposes. In most cases, it will end up in a landfill or in our ocean, where it will remain unchanged for many years.

After looking at the product cycle of a toothbrush, one realizes that the toothbrush is a potential hazard to our environment and wildlife because it takes such a long time to decompose completely. Furthermore, it is difficult to recycle toothbrushes, currently, just an extremely small amount of toothbrushes are recycled in the US because they contain different types of plastic (handle is made of molded polypropylene and polyethylene, and bristles are made of nylon). Therefore, the question arises whether there are alternatives to plastic toothbrushes, or what can be done to make toothbrushes more sustainable.

One possibility is a toothbrush made of a bamboo handle, although these toothbrushes are not completely plastic-free, because the bristles are mostly made of nylon, at least the bamboo handle is quite unproblematic and biodegradable. Furthermore, bamboo is a sustainable raw material, as it grows back extremely quickly, so there is no risk that the stock is endangered. In addition, there are toothbrushes where you keep the handle and only change the toothbrush head regularly, which at least saves the plastic from the handle.  Another idea is not to dispose of the toothbrush immediately after it loses its effectiveness but to reuse it for other purposes. For example, you could use it in the kitchen to clean toasters, microwaves, or coffee machines, or in the bathroom to clean the grooves between the tiles and remove hair from your brush.

Calvin Gorman

Consumer Product Analysis

As an avid seagoer I love anything to do with the ocean. I aim to be as environmentally sustainable when on the water, however, this is almost impossible in this day and age due to everything being made for purpose, rather than sustainability. I believe that this must be flipped and we must start taking sustainability into account as a priority, whilst still producing a product that serves its designated purpose. 

The difficulty with fishing gear is that there are many different types of braided lines depending on what the targeted species is, what the weathers like, how far offshore, and many other variables, and these different types of line are all made with different materials. Some lines such as monofilament have life spans of 2 to 3 years, whereas fluorocarbon lines can last up to 10 years. Fluorocarbon is actually the term given to a broad family of compounds including, carbon, chlorine, fluorine, and other synthetics made from hydrocarbons. Fluorocarbon is also used in Freon which is a refrigerant in air cooling systems, evidently it is not good for you. Hence, Freon was banned in the US January 1st 2020, due to health concerns and its role in destroying the ozone layer. However fluorocarbons are still used legally in the international fishing industry. Monofilament hence the name, is comprised from one single strand of line that may contain multiple different polymers chemically fused together, the most common medium for mono line is nylon. Which uses enormous quantities of water to be produced and also emits nitrous oxide which is a greenhouse gas roughly 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Monofilament is admired for its flexibility which makes it easier to cast, whereas fluorocarbon line is used for its sturdiness and is more commonly used when targeting larger fish or for rougher conditions. 

Zombie in the Water': New Greenpeace Report Warns of Deadly Ghost Fishing Gear - EcoWatch

In our oceans, fishing gear makes up roughly 10% of the total pollution. This is a very large percentage for solely one industry. Discarded fishing nets and fishing lines have been given the term “Ghost Fishing Gear”, this really implies how these discarded items are haunting our seas and destroying some of the most important habitats on the planet. If we can produce a product that can help reduce this pollution it would be beneficial to restoring sea life populations and helping rejuvenate coral reefs. 

During my research I found that a lot more fishing gear companies have started to experiment and transition to biodegradable fishing lines, in particular Eagle Claw Tackle which is the brand I use personally. Unfortunately many will not make the conversion to sustainable gear as very few anglers will want to buy a product that is designed to break. In response to this Eagle Claw made biodegradable lines much more affordable than other types of braid, and also imposed a 10 month guarantee on all lines made by them. I believe that this is most definitely the right approach to get people to use the product, however I also believe that people need to be made more aware of what consequences their actions have on the environment. Furthermore, government bodies should establish laws to prohibit the use of fishing gear with trace toxic materials, and aim to create a fishing industry that is completely 100% sustainable.