Cross-Sector Campaigns Reduce Single-Use Plastics and Styrofoam

The Takeaway: Partners led by the U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Management Program promote reusable and biodegradable products to cut trash and keep wildlife safer.

In the small community of the U.S. Virgin Islands, limited trash disposal areas create life-threatening danger for coastal and marine creatures exposed to Styrofoam containers and a variety of single-use plastics. The U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management Program has joined with schools, a nonprofit, and a local business to target this litter through campaigns, reusable products, and an eco-certification incentive.

The Virgin Islands Conservation Society and the coastal management program kicked off the Virgin Islands Clean Coasts campaign, which offers an eco-certification to any company in the U.S. territory that pledges to remove Styrofoam from its business. Furthermore, companies can earn more badges by pledging to slash paper consumption or eliminate single-use plastic water bottles.

Another campaign partnership, Refill Bottles, Not Dumpsters, cuts estimated school litter dramatically—for instance, at an 800-student school it can eliminate 1,600 disposable water bottles per day. It boosts local clean-water access by installing reusable bottles and bottle fill stations at schools and asking each child to come to class with two water bottles daily. Partners in this effort include My Brother’s Workshop, a nonprofit organization, and the territory’s Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the parent agency of the coastal management program. (2019)

Partners: My Brother’s Workshop, S&D Consulting, Virgin Islands Conservation Society, U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management Program