RETHINK Single-Use Plastics


Introducing RETHINK, a campaign to inspire the use of alternatives to everyday single-use plastics in order to save marine life. This conservation campaign expands on our Last Straw campaign, which has resulted in 29 local restaurants and countless individuals abandoning plastic straws. 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 permeate almost every facet of modern-day life but are thrown away after only one use.

The tiny pieces that plastic breaks up into are ingested by marine organisms and permeate throughout the food chain. Plastic polymers are not only created with chemical additives and contaminants, but also absorb toxins on their journey, including some known endocrine disruptors that may be harmful at extremely low concentrations for marine life, thus posing potential risks to marine ecosystems, biodiversity and food availability. Besides working its way up the food chain, plastic is also accidentally ingested by animals mistaking it for food and causes many entanglement deaths each year.

It has been estimated that up to 1 billion marine animals, from plankton to sea birds to dolphins and whales die each year from plastic pollution.

The United States contributes an estimated 242 million pounds of plastic trash to the ocean every year. 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.


Sign the pledge


As part of this yearlong conservation campaign, we are sharing
weekly tips on our Facebook and Instagram page

Share your commitment with your friends on
Facebook with this
RETHINK profile Frame!

Learn more through Pacific Whale Foundation’s Blog

Find more coverage on alternatives, marine debris research, education initiatives and much more released in our weekly blogs

We are also supporting the message of the RETHINK campaign by offering free “Plastic Pollution Solutions” classes to school classrooms, conducting marine debris research and action planning, incorporating RETHINK education into keiki Ocean Camps and workshops, and conducting beach clean-ups and other community events. We carry out programs in Hawaii, Australia, Ecuador, Chile and other parts of the Pacific that will inspire us all to RETHINK our choices regarding single-use plastics.
Want to be part of the solution?


Show your support with RETHINK apparel

Marine debris and plastic pollution are a serious and growing threat to ocean health and marine wildlife. You can make a positive impact today when you join PWF to RETHINK single-use plastics. We are just $6,000 away from reaching our fundraising goal of $20K to combat single-use plastics entering the ocean, which will directly help provide our Plastic Pollution Solutions program for schools, beach cleanups, marine debris research and prevention efforts, and outreach to spread the word of the harmful impacts of plastic waste and help people easily switch to alternative products.

  • Learn More About 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.

    WATCH the RETHINK video series:

    Every Monday our Conservation Coordinator updates you on another product to RETHINK and suggests eco-conscious alternatives. Find the full video series HERE.

    Microbeads     Sunscreen     Microfibers     Cigarettes     Sunglasses     Diapers

    Toys     Balloons     Recycling     Glitter      Gift Cards      Shipping      Cups

    Utensils     Water     Styrofoam      Legislation      Grocery Shopping

    Frozen Meals      Plastic Bags     Produce Bags     Gum

  • Alternatives to Plastic


  • What You Can Do

    REFUSE to use single-use plastic and USE ALTERNATIVES to plastic whenever possible

    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. Find Maui County guidelines HERE.

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

    ASK your local restaurants and businesses to choose alternatives to plastic straws, cups, utensils, packaging etc.

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

    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.

  • Resources


    Download Rethink Single-Use-Plastics Poster

    Take the Pledge Sign Up Sheet

    Reduce Single-Use-Plastics Ten Tips Poster

    Rethink Single-Use-Plastics Graphic Info Poster


Our thoughts go out to all that are being impacted by COVID-19. With a team dedicated to our response to this pandemic, we are meeting regularly to ensure the continuation of programs and services that allow our mission work to continue.

Pacific Whale Foundation’s leadership team is closely monitoring updates from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization regarding COVID-19. We will continue to seek guidance from these agencies, public health officials and government agencies on an ongoing basis.

The role that our organization plays in keeping people connected for the sake of the environment is incredibly important in times like these. If we all take the proper precautions and continue to treat each other with kindness and care, we’ll get through this together.

How is PacWhale Eco-Adventures addressing COVID-19?

-Following guidance from Hawaii State and County officials, PacWhale is suspending Eco Tours and our Retail Store operations from March 20th – April 30th. 

- To support our employees, we are offering paid, temporary emergency sick leave, restricting all non-essential business travel, deep cleaning work areas, offering teleworking and flexible work schedules, and continuing to communicate updates and reinforce good hygiene practices.

How is Pacific Whale Foundation addressing COVID-19?

-Spring Break Ocean Camp has been cancelled.

-Keiki Whalewatches are being cancelled for the remainder of the season.

- Our marine research and conservation programs will continue to run without disruption.