Photo Credit: David Fleetham

The Problem

As plastic photodegrades (breaks into small pieces) rather than biodegrades, this type of debris can be fatal for marine animals.

70 – 90% of all debris found on and around Maui is plastic, according to Pacific Whale Foundation research

8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean annually—one full garbage truck’s worth every minute

Microplastics were discovered inside amphipods (known deepest-dwelling marine organism), indicating that no planetary ecosystems remain untouched by plastic debris

The Impact

Marine animals ingest or become entangled in plastic debris, often resulting in injury or death.

Plastic has been discovered in 100% of sea turtle species, more than 60% of all seabirds and 56% of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises)

Baleen whales, such as humpbacks, ingest toxic microplastics regularly due to their feeding behavior

Marine plastic pollution negatively affects more than 800 marine species and is responsible for an estimated loss of one billion marine animals annually

You Can Help

Ditch or reduce single-use plastic consumption by considering the following:

Switch to alternatives like bamboo toothbrushes, reusable water bottles or paper sandwich bags

Support legislation and proposed measures limiting plastic waste in your state or county and submit testimony when possible

Spread the word! Be an example of living sustainably and inspire friends, family and businesses to do the same

Make a pledge today to reduce your dependence on single-use plastics

The US contributes an estimated 242 million pounds of plastic to ocean environments annually. Pledge to reduce your single-use plastic consumption today!

I pledge to…
*By signing this pledge, you agree to receive follow-up info from PWF.

More about RETHINK

Our research findings confirm plastic pollution as a significant problem in Hawai‘i. A baseline study published by PWF Chief Scientist Jens Currie (Currie et al. (2018) found that 90% of large coastal debris in Maui Nui was entirely made of or contained plastic. Another PWF study (Blickley et al. 2016) surveyed three shoreline beaches around the island of Maui and found plastics made up 70% of all debris. Our community science Coastal Marine Debris Monitoring Program (CMDMP) has been collecting marine debris data from volunteers since 2013 (CMDMP, 2019). Of the tens of thousands of debris items collected, 73% were plastics. Plastic takes hundreds to thousands of years to degrade. That means every piece of plastic ever created still exists today. The goal of this campaign is to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics not only here on Maui, but around the world as well.

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. View Maui County recycling 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