Grants Database

Zero Waste Washington
Amount Awarded:
Project Title:
Litter quantification and outreach to support reduction of plastic pollution, South Puget Sound
Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund, 2022
Water Resources/Watershed Protection ; Environmental Education ; Habitat/Wilderness/Preservation
South Puget Sound
Kitsap County ; Mason County ; Pierce County ; Thurston County
Project Description:

Plastic pollution, a critical water quality problem, has now gained scientific and public attention. Macro- and micro-plastics in our waters cause impacts to wildlife and potentially, as more data are now showing, health impacts to humans who consume fish and shellfish. It is estimated that about 80% of plastics in our oceans are from land-based sources, much of it litter that gets picked up in stormwater runoff. These land-based sources of litter are poorly quantified.

To address this data gap, Zero Waste Washington worked with US EPA to develop a standardized litter assessment protocol called the Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (which started in the PNW and has rolled out nationally). With important support from The Rose Foundation, we worked with partners over the past grant cycle to pilot and refine this protocol by collecting data at cleanup events. These data are designed to inform/inspire action and to provide feedback to community members and volunteers.

In this proposal we seek to ramp up the effort by supporting local volunteer groups to quantify litter at a minimum of 10 events and developing customized messaging and outreach about potential solutions. We will build up the database to demonstrate that these waterbodies should be listed as impaired on the state’s 303(d) list, which in turn will trigger regulatory and voluntary responses.

The objectives are:
• Work with existing volunteer groups to quantify litter at a minimum of 10 events in the South Sound
• Create local factsheets and messaging to highlight sources of and local solutions for plastics pollution and waste reduction and assist local groups in outreach and education about changes at local scale and statewide
• Compile data and create a regional data report to support 303(d) listing pathway and stronger pollution prevention language in NPDES permits
• Provide information that can lead to the adoption of Water Quality Standards by the state and, potentially, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians