Plastic Litter Gets Second Life as Toiletry Packaging

2,000 pounds of rigid plastic litter becomes new Proctor and Gamble shampoo bottles, toothpaste tubes, and other products.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey gave the “Vulcan Volunteer of the Year Award” to the leader of a cleanup yielding 2,000 pounds of rigid plastic litter that will become new Proctor and Gamble shampoo bottles, toothpaste tubes, and other products. The award recipient was Yael Girard, executive director of the Weeks Bay Foundation.

A 2014 United Nations report found that plastic comprises up to 80 percent of total waste in marine litter surveys, ending up on the seabed, washed onto beaches, or floating on marine surfaces. But U.S. plastic clean-up efforts are gaining momentum.

In 2014 national recycling of rigid plastics surged by 276 million pounds, or 27 percent, totaling over 1.28 billion pounds for the year. Cleanup business partnerships are also catching on. Proctor and Gamble has joined with ten of the largest consumer goods companies on the Closed Loop Fund, which aims by 2025 to cut 50 million tons of greenhouses gases and more than 20 million tons of landfill waste while generating 20,000-plus jobs.

The Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Alabama Coastal Program helped coordinate this cleanup event and worked alongside community volunteers. The Alabama Coastal Foundation, TerraCycle, and Thompson Engineering also contributed. (2018)

Partners: Alabama Coastal Cleanup, Alabama Coastal Foundation, Alabama Coastal Program, TerraCycle, Thompson Engineering, Weeks Bay Foundation, Weeks Bay Research Reserve

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