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  • Donna Staton

Learn More About the Plastic Pollution Crisis

The GTLA Zero Waste Team has collected these resources to help spread the word about the plastic pollution crisis AND share ways we can all pitch in to help.

  • Learn from experts tackling the problem and see how to make meaningful changes at home, school and work to reduce the plastic we use locally.

  • Equally if not more importantly, help us advocate at the city, state and federal level in support of policies that will reduce plastic production (especially single-use) and protect our environment and health.

  • Lastly, let’s speak out directly to companies that offer us only single use packaging!

If you watch just one thing to get you started… check out this Oceania Tedx Talk:

13 minutes well spent!

See below for more resources:

Please contact us if you have suggestions to add to our list!


1. Documentaries

  • The Story of Plastic (1.5 hour documentary from The Story of Stuff Project)

    • Rent from Amazon, or stream from Apple, DiscoveryGo, Xfinity video-on-demand

    • Describes how we came to be a single-use plastic society, and points out how the relationship to the petroleum and gas industry connects plastic to climate change and environmental injustices

    • Short on time? Watch the 4 minute CONDENSED VERSION here.

  • Is Recycling Worth It Anymore? The Truth Is Complicated (16 minutes; National Public Radio NPR)

  • Plastic Wars (1 hour, Frontline & NPR)

    • Looks at how the plastics industry has used recycling to help sell more plastic

    • Links to many additional stories and resources on plastics and recycling in general

  • The Plastic Problem: A PBS NewsHour Documentary (54 minutes, with Amna Nawaz reporting)

    • Examines how we got to this crisis

    • Offers a look at potential solutions

  • Bag It (2 minute trailer, full length 1hour 19 minutes)

    • One average citizens realization that plastic just doesn’t “go away” motivates him to learn more

    • A “lighter” film, suitable for all ages, that still shares an important message

    • Available on Amazon, iTunes and at many libraries

    • Curriculum guide available

  • Microfiber Madness (trailer available, full length is 1 hour 19 minutes)

    • 56 fifth-graders in Brooklyn take on the fight against plastic pollution

    • Charming, educational and moving film that traces their growth from naïve students to active advocates

    • Excellent for teachers or those working with kids

    • Check the website for free screenings or to request to host a screening


2. Short Videos


3. Organizations Working to Reduce Plastic Pollution

  • Plastic Pollution Coalition

    • Terrific background articles on plastic pollution.

    • EXCELLENT health guides for pregnancy, babies and many other practical guides to avoid plastic.

    • Consider signing up for “Above the Fold – Plastics”--a terrific free newsletter from this group.

    • Monthly Webinar Series (sign up for live webinars, or listen to recordings of past webinars)

  • Beyond Plastics

    • Provides fabulous background and resources on the problems of plastics and how to advocate for legislation to reduce plastic

    • Become a plastic pollution expert! Take Beyond Plastics fun and highly educational 7-week online class, Beyond Plastic Pollution, offered by Bennington College’s Center for the Advancement of Public Action (more info available from Donna Staton, )

  • Break Free from Plastic

    • #breakfreefromplastic is a global movement of organizations and individuals working to build a future free from plastic pollution by tackling the plastic problem from extraction to disposal.

    • Excellent toolkits and resources for making change.

  • Oceana

    • Through a variety of campaigns, Oceana protects and restores the world’s oceans.

    • The inspirational 13-minute Tedx Talk mentioned above is on their website.

  • Californians Against Waste

    • Dive deeper into the issues facing us here in California.

    • Many tips on how to advocate for local plastic reducing policy.

  • CalRecycle

    • California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

    • Provides helpful “how to” information for proper recycling and waste reduction in general.

    • Updates businesses on how to comply with recent changes to recycling requirements.

  • Upstream

    • Upstream provides practical solutions that help businesses and communities shift from single-use to reuse.

    • EXCELLENT resources for restaurants considering the switch to reusables, and for those who want to persuade them to do so!

  • California Stewardship Action Council

    • Network of governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), businesses and individuals supporting projects and policy where producers share in the responsibility for managing problem products at their end of life.

    • Advocates for EPR (extended producer responsibility) and the circular economy.

  • The Story of Stuff Project

    • From a movie to a movement, The Story of Stuff address the current culture of consumerism to excess.

    • The Story of Plastic (1.5 hour documentary) is a must-see! Available on Amazon, Apple TV, etc.

    • Or, view the 4-minute condensed version here.

  • As You Sow

    • Empowers shareholders and investors to change corporations for good.

    • Plastic pollution is one of their six initiatives.


4. Podcasts

  • How To Save A Planet (hosts journalist Alex Blumberg and policy scientist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson)

    • Each week a topic related to climate change, plastics, recycling, energy etc. is covered

    • Despite the occasional goofy humor, each episodes provides up-to-date information in a relaxed conversational style

    • Each episode ends with practical action items we can all take to make a difference

  • The Indisposable Podcast (by Upstream, host Brooking Gatewood)

    • Highly rated and popular podcast that guides and inspires businesses and communities to shift from single-use to reusable.

    • These podcasts are solution-focused and present guests who have made the change to reusable successfully


5. Books


6. Health Effects of Plastics


Please contact us if you have suggestions to add to our list!

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