The Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center (SU-EFC) is assisting in an effort led by the US EPA to expand its national Trash Free Waters (TFW) program to EPA Region 2. The initiative is focused on New Jersey, New York, and Puerto Rico where there is an opportunity to develop a strategic approach to support aquatic trash prevention and reduction initiatives by many public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders.

The TFW program has a strong emphasis on helping state agencies, municipalities, and businesses work together to develop innovative aquatic trash management strategies in targeted geographic areas. The TFW program serves as a catalyst for issue analysis, facilitated dialogue, strategic planning, and program implementation.

The goal of TFW is to develop a focused set of actions and projects that significantly reduce the volume of trash entering watersheds and the marine environment, approaching zero loadings of trash into US waters within 10 years. Efforts in Puerto Rico and New Jersey/New York are centered primarily on plastics with a special focus on the following materials:

  • Plastic Bags
  • Single-use Plastic Beverage Bottles
  • Disposable Takeout Containers
  • Microplastics
  • Cigarette Butts
  • Balloons
  • Straws

Working groups have been created to address issues associated with each of these materials.