RETHINK Single-Use Plastics

Plastic never truly biodegrades; instead it photodegrades, or breaks up into smaller pieces, never leaving our environment. Pacific Whale Foundation research shows 70-90% of all debris found on and around Maui is plastic. Single-use plastics are the biggest contributor to this challenge, as they are thrown away after only one use.

We all contribute to this problem, so every one of us can make a difference. Make a pledge today to reduce your use of single-use plastics.


Fill out my online form.

RETHINK Single-Use Plastics

As part of this yearlong conservation campaign, Pacific Whale Foundation is sharing weekly tips on our Facebook and Instagram pages, stories on our Blog, offering free “Plastic Pollution Solutions” classes to middle and high school classrooms, and more. We are also fundraising for Research (marine debris action planning), Education (keiki camps and workshops) and Conservation (beach cleanups and community events) programming that will inspire us all to RETHINK our choices regarding single-use plastics. Want to be part of the solution? DONATE HERE.

  • Chevron down MORE ON RETHINK
  • Pacific Whale Foundation’s research has shown plastic pollution to be a problem in Hawaii. A recent baseline study published by Currie et al. (2018) found 90% of large coastal debris in Maui Nui to be plastics. Another study conducted by PWF (Blickley et al. 2016) surveyed three shoreline beaches around the island and found plastics made up 70% of all debris. Our citizen science Coastal Marine Debris Monitoring Program (CMDMP) has been collecting marine debris data from volunteers since 2013 (CMDMP, 2019). Of the ~60,000 pieces of debris collected by citizen scientists, 73% were plastics. Plastic never truly biodegrades; instead it photodegrades, meaning it breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces but never actually leaves our environment. Plastic takes hundreds to thousands of years to degrade, therefore, every piece of plastic ever created still exists today. These studies show that plastic debris is a major problem in Hawai‘i, a trend that is also observed globally by other researchers. The goal of this campaign is to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics not only here in Maui, but around the world as well.

  • Chevron down FACTS & FIGURES

    • 8 million tons of plastic waste flows into the ocean every year, that’s like dumping one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute.
    • Less than 1/5 of plastic is recycled globally.
    • 1 billion plastic containers get littered each year in the United States.
    • Plastic has been found in more than 60% of all seabirds and 100% of sea turtle species.
    • By using a reusable water bottle you could save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually.
    • In 2018, 2.4 million cigarette filters were found on International Coastal Cleanup day.

    For more information on plastic and its impacts, visit our Last Straw page.

  • Chevron down WHAT YOU CAN DO
  • REFUSE to use single-use plastic and ask your local restaurants and businesses to choose alternatives to plastic straws, cups, utensils, packaging etc.

    REUSE plastic products whenever possible.

    RECYCLE plastic products whenever possible. Not all plastics are recyclable, so make sure to check what is accepted in your area.

    PLEDGE to reduce your consumption of single-use plastics by signing our online form.

    SHARE your commitment and stories of pollution solutions with #RETHINK @pacificwhalefoundation

    USE ALTERNATIVES to plastic whenever possible

    10 alternatives to get you started

    WATCH the RETHINK video series:









    Get your RETHINK STARTER KIT today, designed to cover your most common plastic alternative needs. Your purchase/donation supports marine debris research and conservation action to prevent plastics from entering the ocean and harming marine life. Mahalo for making a difference.