Since 1950, the production of plastics has increased exponentially. Though some of these products have significantly benefited society, single-use plastics have resulted in a mounting wave of pollution. Across the Untied States and around the world, plastic debris is accumulating in freshwater and marine environments at an alarming rate, and New York State’s revered aquatic resources are no exception. Items such as plastic bags, plastic bottles, polystyrene take-out containers, cigarette butts, and microplastics are impeding watersheds, harming aquatic life, posing human health issues, and diminishing New York’s natural beauty. Learn more about this topic from the USEPA.

Through the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute’s Community Grants Program, the SU-EFC has developed an outreach and education program, which aims to harness the engaging and thought-provoking strengths of artist expression, to convey the connection between consumption habits and plastics pollution, to raise awareness about the impacts of plastics pollution, and to empower New York residents to take an active role in mitigating this issue by switching to reusable alternatives.

The three main components of this program include:

  1. Plastics Pollution Prevention Video Series: The video series will depict issues associated with each of the five prominent single-use plastic items that are polluting NYS waterways and it will encourage viewers to make the switch to reusable alternatives.
  2. Art Contest & Gallery Event: College and university students from across the state will raise awareness about plastic pollution and compete for cash prizes by creating works in various media, which will be displayed at a gallery event in November 2017.
  3. Facebook Campaign: Through the Facebook campaign, current plastics pollution information will be shared, and followers will be encouraged to post their personal encounters with plastic pollution and steps they are taking to break free from single-use plastics.



Funding provided by the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 
Any opinions, findings, and/or interpretations of data contained herein are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions, interpretations or policy of Rochester Institute of Technology and its NYS Pollution Prevention Institute or the State.

Additional support provided by the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling.