Real Clear Policy, September 2021
As the summer comes to a close, many of us will be making one final trip to the beach. But for Americans from shore to shore, those visits to our coastlines have changed over the years. Whether going for a morning walk on the beach or building a sandcastle with your children, it’s hard not to come face-to-face with the plastic pollution crisis plaguing our marine environment. On Cape Cod, where I live, empty plastic water bottles can, unfortunately, be as ubiquitous as the sand. Campaigns like Plastic Free July and the upcoming World Cleanup Day have helped increase awareness of the adverse impact of plastic pollution. And more than ever, consumers are poised to act.
According to a February 2021 survey conducted by Piplsay, a global consumer research organization, 58 percent of Americans have cut back on buying plastic products even during the pandemic, while 57 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should ban single-use plastic items. Though COVID-19 halted action, the bounce back of the environment with the cessation of human activity has given much time to reflect on quality of life and the need for stewardship of the environment. The push to reduce their plastic footprint is being led by Baby Boomers, with Millennials having a significant presence.