What's S.U.P.? (Single-Use Plastics): Youth and Community Creating Change

Students on beach on Alaska.

Led by the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, schools and businesses across the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska will initiate zero waste and green initiatives, coupled with marine debris education. Schools will measure waste generated and identify solutions, while also executing local cleanups to measure and understand debris and its impacts.

Type of Project: Marine Debris Prevention Grant

Region: Alaska

Project Dates: August 2018 - December 2019

Who is involved?
With the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program Prevention Grant, the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (CACS) is expanding on their zero-waste program in schools and businesses across the Kenai Peninsula, including Homer, Seward, and other communities, integrating new schools and sharing new information.

What is the project and why is it important?
Many businesses and schools in Alaska use a large amount of single-use plastics, from lunch trays and plastic utensils, to plastic bags and straws. This increases stress on landfills, while also creating the potential for the introduction of new marine debris if there is not proper waste disposal infrastructure available.

Experienced teachers and classes will assist new teachers in implementing zero-waste campaigns in their classrooms and on their campuses, measuring the amount and type of waste they generate, and identifying opportunities to make changes and reduce waste. As with previous years, students will also have the opportunity to participate in local cleanups at small communities on Kachemak Bay, with further remote cleanups at Gore Point and on Augustine Island.

CACS will also work with the business community to enroll additional companies in the Green Star program - a certification program that guides businesses in pollution prevention and integrating  sustainability in business process. CACS conducts community presentations on environmental issues, and then works  with businesses to provide guidance on Green Star implementation options and opportunities, including waste audits and zero-waste initiatives.