Sept 21 - Plastic Waste, Medical Needles Wash Ashore After Storm


Just one day after a cleanup of Delaware beaches as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, more garbage washed up on the shores, attributed to currents influenced by heavy rainfall and the recent Tropical Storm Irene. Most of it was plastic waste and included used syringes and other medical waste.

According to a Waste & Recycling news article, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control issued a statement about the incident. The Department asked cleanup volunteers to avoid handling the medical and hazardous waste for safety reasons and report them to the Department instead.

Nearly 80% of all debris in our oceans comes from land-based sources. This story illustrates the need for proper disposal of used medical sharps and other medical waste. It also drives home the point that we should reduce our dependency on unnecessary and environmentally harmful single-use plastics such as plastic bags and food packaging containers, whose lightweight qualities make them easily transportable by wind and water.

SB 567 (DeSaulnier), a CAW-sponsored bill that is currently waiting for the Governor’s signature, expands labeling requirements to help reduce littering of all plastic products. Take action and urge the Governor to sign this bill here.

SB 568 (Lowenthal), would phase out foamed polystyrene takeout containers. The bill is currently inactive but can be taken up again for a vote next year. Please ask your favorite progressive restaurants to send in a support letter to Senator Lowenthal's office. Download a copy of the letter here.