Why Polystyrene Is The New Microbead by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff of The 5 Gyres Institute

Through the 5 Gyres’ “Nix the 6” action campaign, thousands of people have pledged to refuse single-use polystyrene plastic. What does it mean to Nix the 6? #sneakystyrene polysytrene products are everywhere, from coffee cup lids to straws, cutlery, and cups (even red SOLO cups). Expanded polystyrene foam - commonly known as "Styrofoam" - is basically polystyrene that's expanded with air. You can identify these plastics by the number "6" on the bottom. When you Nix the 6, you pledge to refuse these single-use plastics. Why is this so important? 5 Gyres has seen how individual decisions like these can snowball into massive change. Our 2012 study that discovered plastic microbeads in the Great Lakes inspired a movement, culminating with major corporate phase out - think L’Oreal and Johnson & Johnson - and statewide bans on both coasts. In 2015, President Obama signed a federal microbeads ban into law! Like microbeads, polystyrene plastics are environmental hazards. They are extremely toxic to make and difficult to recycle. Polystyrene and "Styrofoam" are even banned from many recycling programs because of contamination problems - less than 2% of polystyrene was recycled in 2013. With local polystyrene bans on many ballots this year and a statewide ban being considered in California, this is the year to join the movement. We did it before with microbeads - now it's time for a polystyrene ban! In this webinar, we’ll cover the new 5 Gyres white paper on polystyrene and reproductive toxicity, activism resources, and our partnership with the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN) to support bans on college campuses - even in preemptive states. Meanwhile, look for the #sneakystyrene hashtag to follow the campaign on social media. Webinar co-sponsored by MarineDebris.info and the EBM Tools Network (co-coordinated by OCTO and NatureServe). Register for the webinar at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kkVhgLyKSbKRp4_tQmoVTA.