A State-wide, Multi-partners Campaign to Reduce Single-use Plastic in Oregon

A child picks up a glass straw.
Moving to solutions: Reusable straws at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. (Photo: Oregon Coast Aquarium)

Surfrider Foundation and its partners are working with the public, school students, businesses, and the Oregon State legislature to reduce consumption of single-use plastic in Oregon. The coordinated campaign will culminate in a Rise Above Plastic Day, and will use social media extensively to document behavior change.

Type of Project: Marine Debris Prevention Grant

Region: Pacific Northwest

Project Dates: September 1, 2018 – June 30, 2020

Who is involved?
With the support of a NOAA MDP Prevention Grant, Oregon Surfrider Foundation together with  SOLVE, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, and Oregon House Representative David Gomberg, will lead a campaign to engage the Oregon public, businesses and the legislature to reduce the amount of single-use plastic items in Oregon. The campaign will take place statewide, with a focus on communities along the Oregon coast, and the Willamette Valley.  

What is the project and why is it important?
Plastic debris has been washing up on the Oregon coast for many years. In 2017, thousands of plastic items, mostly single-use food packaging such as bottle caps, bottles, and plastic straws were removed from Oregon beaches. Yet, the use of plastic continues to increase worldwide, plastic debris ends up in the marine environment, and breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Preventing marine debris from entering the environment in the first place is needed in Oregon and elsewhere. The ultimate goal of this project is to drive behavior change to reduce the amount of single-use plastics used in Oregon.

Combining three actions from the Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan, Oregon Surfrider Foundation and its partners will engage citizens, students, and businesses in a coordinated campaign to avoid consuming single-use plastics. The campaign will lead to a one day push to collect social media testaments of refusing single-use plastics, called “Rise Above Plastics Day.” Additionally,  Surfrider will coordinate participation of state agencies and other ocean stakeholders, with a particular focus on waste-reduction behaviors within state-owned buildings such as the Oregon State Capitol. The project will use social media to promote and track individual behavior through the use of hashtags. In addition, Surfrider staff will coordinate with local chapters to recruit 40 businesses to make single-use plastic items available upon request for a month during the project period.