Plastic Pollution

Keeping plastic out of the Salish Sea by improving laws, cleaning up beaches, pollution patrols and engaging citizen scientists.

The problem

Every year, the world produces almost 420 million tons of plastic — the mass of two-thirds of the entire human population (source). The majority of this is single-use plastics, and when thrown out, they don’t disappear. They break into smaller pieces and get just about everywhere.

Plastic is hazardous to marine life in many ways: ingestion, strangulation, potential toxicity, habitat degradation, and bioaccumulation. It’s entering the human food chain as well. Plastic pollution has been found everywhere from beer and table salt, to Arctic air and tropical baby fish (who sometimes eat plastic as their first meal

How we combat plastic pollution in the Salish Sea

RE Sources and volunteers work to curb plastic pollution at every level — from cleaning local beaches to rallying community members on the Capitol steps in Olympia: 

  • We advocate for and mobilize the public to push legislators to pass bold policies that limit plastic waste at the local, statewide, and national levels. Most recently, we urged the Washington State Legislature to pass bills that reduce plastic pollution, like a 2019 law setting targets to reduce packaging in products and the waste stream (SB 5397),
  • We host community beach (and sometimes river or lake) cleanups! Find an upcoming one on our Events page,
  • We train citizen scientists to monitor the health of shoreline wildlife,
  • Our North Sound Baykeeper team goes on regular pollution patrols. Trash, especially plastic, is one of the most common sources of pollution our team finds in our local waterways,

Take Action

Be a part of changing the world

Donate

Keeping plastic out of the Salish Sea starts with you. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Help us advocate for policies that curb plastics. Check out our legislative session work to pass single-use bag bans, holding plastic producers accountable, and more. You can advocate for good state level policies by joining our legislative action team and get actions you can take delivered to your inbox. 
  • Join a community beach (and sometimes river or lake) cleanup! Find an upcoming one on our Events page.
  • Become a citizen scientist.
  • Stop pollution with your smartphone: get the Water Reporter app. Learn more about how the app works and download our guide for spotting pollution — anytime, anywhere. Download it on Android or iOS.
Get in touch with our North Sound Baykeeper team!

Eleanor Hines, North Sound Baykeeper
Phone: (360) 733-8307 ext. 213 
Email: EleanorH@re-sources.org

Kirsten McDade, Pollution Prevention Specialist
Phone: (360) 220-0556
Email: KirstenM@re-sources.org