Posts Tagged 'plastic pollution'

Maryland Legislators Announce Recycle for Real Bill

National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli with Sen. Bill Ferguson, Del. Maggie McIntosh and Del. John A. Olszewski after their announcement of Recycle for Real.

National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli with Sen. Bill Ferguson, Del. Maggie McIntosh, and Del. John A. Olszewski after their announcement of Recycle for Real.

Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee, Delegate John Olszewski, and Senator Bill Ferguson today announced Recycle For Real™, a legislative initiative to boost Maryland’s recycling rates. The bill aims to create a “fully refundable 5-cent beverage container deposit that will provide a financial incentive for Marylanders to redeem and reuse the billions of beverage containers sold in the state each year,” according to the press release.

Revenue from unredeemed beverage containers would go to benefit statewide environmental programs as well as recycling programs in Maryland counties and Baltimore City.

Maryland’s recycling rate is currently a dismal 22 percent – the majority of the approximately four billion beverage containers used every year find their way into Maryland’s landfills, highways, the Inner Harbor, and all around the Chesapeake Bay.

Plastic pollution has gotten out of hand in our local waters! Photo via Chesapeake Bay Program

Plastic pollution has gotten out of hand in our local waters! Photo via Chesapeake Bay Program

If passed by the Maryland General Assembly, Recycle For Real™ has the potential to increase the state’s beverage container recycling rate to 75 percent. Maryland would join 10 other states currently operating deposit programs and have an average recycling rate of 76 percent.

National Aquarium’s Government Affairs team will be working with the sponsors of Recycle For Real™ and other conservation groups over the next few months in Annapolis to make sure this initiative is successful.

Want to stay up to date about the container deposit bill and other National Aquarium conservation priorities?  CLICK HERE to sign up for legislative updates!

Stay tuned for more updates on Recycle for Real™ and other important local conservation initiatives. 


A Blue View: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

January 1, 2013: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Listen to John discuss the serious impact the GPGP is having on our marine ecosystems.

Have you ever noticed a piece of trash or a plastic bottle carelessly discarded in the gutter? Someone may come along and pick it up. OR  perhaps it will make its way through the sewer into our streams and waterways, eventually ending up in our ocean.

Once there, it will follow the prevailing currents and either wash up on a beach or end up in one of the gyres that exist in each of our oceans. Gyres are large areas of calm water that are encircled by ocean currents formed by the earth’s wind patterns and rotation of the planet. Debris that drifts into these gyres stays there for years—pushed gently in a slow, spiral toward the center.

5 gyres

Approximately twice the size of Texas, the North Pacific Gyre, one of the more infamous, is commonly referred to as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. This gyre is estimated to cover anywhere from 270,000 to 5,800,000 square miles of ocean.

Last year, we were happy to host our friends from 5 gyres during their “Last Straw Plastic Pollution” bike tour. They shared stories from their tour along the east coast to raise awareness about the GPGP and how we can lead plastic-free lives! 

Kick-start 2013 by reducing your plastic consumption: 

  • Forego the straw and the lid on your drink.
  • Bring your own reusable mug when you stop for coffee.
  • Stuff a trash bag in your pocket when you go for a walk and pick up the pieces of trash you see on the sidewalk, along the trail, or on the beach.
  • Choose products that come with less packaging.
  • Bring your reusable bags to all of the places you shop.

These are just a few easy tips. What other ways do you reduce your use of plastic at home? 

5 Gyres “Last Straw Plastic Pollution” Bike Tour Events at National Aquarium!

Patches of plastic and trash cover large portions of our blue planet. The largest patch, the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is estimated to cover anywhere from 270,000 to 5,800,000 square miles of ocean. These congregations of pollution exist in all five gyres or large systems of rotating ocean currents. Without immediate action, this plastic pollution will continue to do irreparable damage.

Map of five ocean gyres or large systems of rotating ocean currents

5 gyres, a conservation organization striving to end plastic pollution, is spreading the word about the five main oceanic garbage patches by biking 1,400 miles down the Atlantic coast on their “Last Straw Plastic Pollution” tour.

Tomorrow, the 5 gyres team will be hitting the streets of Baltimore, Maryland  and making a stop at National Aquarium from 5 – 6:30 PM. The team will share photographs from their journey and talk about their research on the impact of plastic pollution and what the community can do to eliminate this crippling harm to local waters and marine life. Click here to RSVP for the Baltimore event! 

As the 5 gyres team continues their Atlantic tour, they will also be making a stop at our Washington, D.C. venue on Tuesday, October 23. Click here to RSVP for the Washington, DC event! 

For additional details on 5 gyres  and these upcoming events, click here.

5 Gyres sails to the most remote regions of our oceans to research plastic density in areas where no one has before, and takes the evidence of home to engage with government, industry and concerned citizens to drive common sense solutions to plastic pollution through policy, education and sustainable business. For more information, visit

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