We're working with city governments on innovations to  prevent plastic pollution, reduce waste, and grow jobs. 

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Existing efforts to achieve Zero Waste have focused on developing community-based infrastructure for managing waste including community gardens, local processors, waste reduction efforts and successful recycling initiatives. As recycling streams have evolved, existing approaches have been unable to keep pace with the increasing amount of plastics use and resulting litter, disposal and recycling costs.

A 2013 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council estimated that the costs to address litter and plastic pollution in California’s environment were nearly $500 million dollars each year. Current policy responses have focused on efforts such as plastic bag bans, compostability standards, and mandatory recycling. Even with the expansion of these efforts, business as usual scenarios estimate a four-fold increase in the use of plastics by 2050, with roughly half of all plastic being produced for single-use disposable applications.

 

Cities face escalating costs of managing plastic waste, with nearly a third of plastic packaging escaping existing collection systems. As described in the Eugene Memo, a project of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network,  “[t]he economy is driven by the goal of continuing economic growth, with its associated high levels of material and energy throughput, pollution, and inequities while the natural system struggles to maintain itself in the face of these demands.” The rapid growth of plastic packaging waste far outstrips local government’s ability to impact upstream design change and invest in post-consumer infrastructure necessary to collect and recycle or dispose of plastics to prevent their release into the environment.


Other Projects

Pollution Prevention

US network of non-profit organizations pressuring corporations to change and engaging Americans on solutions.

Packaging Policy

Working on state and local policy solutions where companies take responsibility for packaging waste.