Stewards Targeting Ocean Problems (S.T.O.P): Zero Waste and Awareness Campaign on the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage, Alaska

Students sorting trash.

The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies teamed up with the NOAA Marine Debris Program to build awareness of marine debris through field experiences and zero waste campaigns at local schools and businesses on the Kenai Peninsula and in Anchorage, Alaska.

Type of Project: Marine Debris Prevention

Region: Alaska

Project Dates: August 2016 – September 2017

Who is involved?
With the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program Marine Debris Prevention through Education and Outreach grant, the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies worked with a range of local schools and businesses to implement a local zero waste campaign, which leveraged support from longtime partners in the Homer area to provide experiential learning opportunities to participants.

What is the project and why is it important?
This project targeted increased awareness and prevention of marine debris through education, participation in zero waste campaigns, and field cleanups. The zero-waste campaigns were conducted in schools across the Kenai School District and into Anchorage. Mentor teachers and classes worked to assist other classrooms and students in implementing campaigns on their campuses and classrooms.

What were the project results?
The project finished in early 2018, with the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (CACS) completing all of the original goals. Local schools integrated marine debris education into existing lesson plans and curricula, and conducted waste audits that identified and measured common waste items each school generated. Students then worked with their teachers and school administration to eliminate the identified items by shifting to reusable alternatives. Together, these changes eliminated over 165,000 single-use items from use at local schools annually! CACS also coordinated field cleanups at local beaches, as well as remote cleanups at Augustine Island and Gore Point.