ShiftCon presents a workshop titled “From Garbage Islands to Poisonous Plastics: Solutions to Safeguard Our Children’s, Health, Families, and the Ocean” with Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and the 5 Gyres Institute.
WHAT: From Garbage Islands to Poisonous Plastics: Solutions to Safeguard Our Children’s, Health, Families, and the Ocean
WHEN: Saturday, December 3rd
TIME: 11:00am CST
If you recycle that plastic bottle, it’s okay—right? Not so fast. The amount of plastic we use has overwhelmed our ability to deal with it, and it’s affecting our health as a result. In “From Garbage Islands to Poisonous Plastics: Solutions to Safeguard Our Children’s, Health, Families, and the Ocean” Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Executive Director of The 5 Gyres Institute, and Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, examine the impacts of and solutions to the plastic pollution problem—from that mythical “Texas-sized trash island” in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the government’s (in)ability to protect us from toxic chemicals contained in plastic.
Mike will talk about how toxic chemicals in everyday plastics, from back-to-school supplies to food packaging and the building materials in our homes, expose us to unnecessary toxic chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and flame retardants, and contribute to pollution in the oceans and food web. He’ll share how the Mind the Store Campaign is transforming the nation’s biggest retailers, and opportunities for bloggers to continue to change the policies of multi-billion dollar corporations in the year to come—such as a brand new campaign launching just in time for the holidays that will work to transform one of the biggest retailers in the world. Mike will also share how with TSCA reform legislation finally signed into law, and ways we can all hold EPA’s feet to the fire to regulate toxics in plastics.
Rachel will draw attention to “solutions” that need reframing—like recycling, which today simply exports the problem: In 2011, China imported nearly half of America’s plastic waste. In countries like these, waste pickers sort through the trash to find the pieces that are most valuable—thicker plastics and metals. And she’ll announce a new 5 Gyres Action Campaign, which bloggers and social media influencers can use to help shine a light on the most egregious plastic pollution offender: Styrofoam. Styrene, the primary component of Styrofoam, is a “probable human carcinogen” that can migrate from food and drinks when it comes in contact with fatty acids or acidic foods, and when heated—like for your coffee or take out. The EPA ranks Styrofoam manufacturing as the fifth worst global industry in terms of hazardous waste creation, and polystyrene is rarely recycled, as it’s difficult for most facilities to process. Need more? Starbucks sells 400 billion cups of coffee annually—each with a polystyrene lid. That breaks down to more than a billion polystyrene lids each day, for one brand alone. We can’t recycle our way out of this kind of trash. What’s the solution? Join the conversation and find out!