Plastic Pollution


Health Risks of Plastic Bags

Who would think when you put your groceries in a plastic bag, that it could end up in the food that you eat.  When plastic bags blow away, they often end up in the ocean. Exposed to wave action and sunlight, plastic bags break down into small particles called “microplastics.” Microplastics absorb toxins from the water, including persistent organic pollutants such as flame retardants, dioxins, PCBs and pesticides. Plankton eat microplastic particles, introducing toxins into the marine food web. When fish eat these plankton, they bioaccumulate the toxins in their bodies. People who eat fish that have bioaccumulated toxins can be exposed to dangerous levels of pollution. When contaminated fish are used as animal feed, they can transfer pollutants to chickens, farm-raised fish and pigs, which could also contain high levels of toxins. Despite these risks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not yet monitor for many of the toxins that could be found in fish and shellfish. Fish consumption advisories for commercial seafood are sometimes based on samples taken many years ago, well before microplastics became recognized by the scientific community as a problem.

Plastic Straw Waste

Plastic straws are not recyclable.  Unfortunately, most end up in landfills, or even worse, in the environment where they can harm wildlife and marine animals.  It is estimated that Americans use more than 180 billion plastic straws a year.  Approximately three years ago, a video went viral that showed scientists rescuing a turtle with a straw lodged in its nose in Costa Rica.  Thus the movement away from plastic straws has been gaining steam. The push to cut down on the number of single-use plastic straws used every day in the United States is gaining momentum nationwide and in Delaware. 

Banning Polystyrene (Styrofoam)

Delaware state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 51, which prohibits restaurants and other food service establishments from providing polystyrene foam food containers, plastic beverage stirrers, and plastic cocktail and sandwich picks, and requires that single-use plastic straws are only provided at the customer’s request. The bill was signed by Governor Carney and will go into effect on July 1, 2025. 

Plastic Free Delaware is seeking to address the root causes of Delaware's plastic pollution.  They are diligently working to eliminate single use plastics. We were proud to be a part of the movement led by Plastic Free Delaware to tackle each of these issues.