A Plastic-Free Education Campaign in Southeast Florida
The Ocean Conservancy and their partners will engage local Miami-Dade County youth and businesses through their Plastic Free Cities campaign to reduce single-use plastics.
Type of Project: Prevention
Project Dates: September 2022 - August 2024
Who is involved?
With support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, the Ocean Conservancy is inspiring business champions and youth ocean ambassadors to prevent single-use plastic waste in Miami-Dade County. The Ocean Conservancy will partner with Debris Free Oceans and Big Blue & You to build the next generation of local environmental leaders and engage local businesses in a campaign to reduce single-use plastics.
What is the project and why is it important?
Plastic pollution can harm wildlife, impact local economies, and may affect human health. Unfortunately, the majority of items collected by volunteers during the Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup are single-use plastic items. Many of the most commonly reported plastic waste types were generated by the food industry, including food wrappers, beverage bottles and caps, grocery bags, and straws.
To combat this issue, the Ocean Conservancy and their partners, Debris Free Oceans and Big Blue & You, are working with food businesses, such as restaurants, cafeterias, fast-food services, and convenience stores. In an effort to reduce single-use plastics and build the next generation of local environmental leaders, the project will build a campaign that engages and trains local youth in five communities in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. Participating youth will become Junior Sustainability Consultants, and will gain the knowledge and skills needed to influence local businesses to reduce single-use plastics. Youth and businesses will also come together for community activities, such as cleanup events. This project, called Plastic Free Cities, will lead to long-term behavior changes that reduce the use of single-use plastics, influence others to reduce single-use plastics, and promote conservation ethics through personal actions. Following a successful campaign, this youth-driven business model can be replicated and scaled up to other locations.