20th Annual Ocean Film Festival

April 13 , 9:00 am April 16 , 8:00 pm

The International Ocean Film Festival will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary at Cowell Theater in Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in San Francisco, California, and the Smith Rafael Film Center, in San Rafael, California. Join Plastic Pollution Coalition at this year’s film festival!

Find this year’s film schedule here.

The mission of the International Ocean Film Festival is to be the global platform for ocean literacy and education throughout independent film. Since our inception in 2004, each year the IOFF features a four-day ocean engagement event for audiences from around the world. Through the power of visual storytelling and independent films, audiences of all ages are inspired to become better ocean stewards, and help to protect our oceans. As a year-round ocean conservation organization, the IOFF is proud to present films and post-screening discussions with film directors, producers, and leading industry experts throughout the year.

September 21, 2022 , 11:00 am 2:30 pm EDT

Curation of a series of short fashion films, plus a speaking panel, addressing sustainability at the Museum of Modern Art at 12 West 54th Street, New York, New York. For more information, email: info@fashion4development.com

Panel Discussion by:

  • Jeanine Ballone, Executive Director, World Collective powered by F4D (Moderator)
  • Aslaug Mangusdottir, CEO & Founder of Katla & Co-founder of Moda Operandi
  • Khaled Bouharrour, Founder & CEO, BE.SIGN
  • DJ Spooky, Artist in Residence, Yale University Center for Collaborative Arts
  • Dr. Michael Dorsey, Environmental Scientist & CEO of Around The Corner Capital and Plastic Pollution Coalition Executive Advisory Board Member
Global beverage company markets itself as sustainable and environmentally friendly despite being a major contributor to plastic pollution and depleting valuable freshwater resources

Sharon Donovan, Communications Director, Earth Island Institute
sharondonovan@earthisland.org, (510) 859-9161

Washington, D.C. (August 31, 2021) — Earth Island Institute filed a lawsuit today against BlueTriton Brands (formerly Nestlé Waters North America) for false and deceptive marketing. BlueTriton is a multinational beverage corporation headquartered in the United States that represents itself as a sustainable and environmentally friendly company despite its significant and ongoing contributions to plastic pollution and its depletion of natural water resources.

On its website and in various advertising campaigns, BlueTriton claims that it is a “sustainable” company striving for a “waste-free future.” In a particularly egregious form of greenwashing, the company explains that its name and logo — a blue trident (three-pronged spear) — reflects its role “as a guardian of sustainable resources.”

In fact, BlueTriton has done relatively very little to address the immense problem of plastic pollution and continues to falsely represent to consumers that recycling mitigates the environmental harm of its plastic production and use. Furthermore, BlueTriton and its predecessor Nestlé Waters North America have been subject to numerous lawsuits regarding the company’s depletion of natural water resources and unauthorized water diversion.

“We will no longer stay silent when major corporations, like BlueTriton, lie to consumers about their wasteful and harmful business practices,” said Earth Island Institute General Counsel Sumona Majumdar. “It is time for BlueTriton to be honest about the fact that it makes immense profits from extracting valuable freshwater and selling it to the public in single-use plastic bottles, the vast majority of which will never be recycled and will instead pollute our environment for hundreds of years.”

Earth Island Institute has filed the case in the District of Columbia Superior Court, alleging that BlueTriton is in violation of the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA). The CPPA is a consumer protection law that prohibits a wide variety of deceptive and unconscionable business practices. The statute specifically provides that a public-interest organization, like Earth Island, may bring an action on behalf of consumers and the general public for relief from the unlawful conduct directed at consumers. If successful, this lawsuit will prevent BlueTriton from falsely advertising its business as sustainable, among other things.

BlueTriton Brands formerly operated as Nestlé Waters North America, one of the largest plastic-producing companies in the world, and owns a variety of beverage brands including Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, Deer Park® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, Ozarka® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, Ice Mountain® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, Zephyrhills® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, Arrowhead® Brand Mountain Spring Water, Pure Life®, and Splash.

“BlueTriton brands like Deer Park, Poland Spring, and Pure Life are the same brands we see on so many of the plastic water bottles polluting our rivers, beaches, city streets, and parks. Research shows that microplastics are polluting our bodies too, in addition to the health impacts on people living near plastic production facilities who suffer from higher rates of asthma, fertility issues, and more,” said Julia Cohen, MPH, co-founder and managing director at Plastic Pollution Coalition, a project of Earth Island Institute and a global alliance of more than 1,200 organizations, businesses, and thought leaders in 75 countries. “It’s unacceptable that a company like BlueTriton that produces all this plastic would call themselves sustainable, and it’s time they be held accountable for years of greenwashing,” Cohen added.

As a fiscally sponsored project of Earth Island Institute, Plastic Pollution Coalition is at the organization’s core of educating consumers about plastic pollution, including in the District of Columbia, and engaging in advocacy related to environmental and human health impacts from plastic.

Plastic pollution is a global crisis threatening human and environmental health on a massive scale, from the plastic-producing petrochemical plants that disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities to the plastic waste that is often dumped in developing countries to the toxic microplastics invading our bodies, which have been shown to contribute to cancer, neurotoxicity, reproductive issues, endocrine disruption, and genetic problems.

​​Earth Island Institute is represented by Richman Law & Policy, which specializes in consumer protection law.

The Understanding Packaging (UP) Scorecard is a new online resource to help concert and sports venues, restaurants, and other businesses choose plastic free and sustainable packaging for food and drinks. Trying to do the right thing can be confusing in today’s market: Is reusable stainless steel a better choice than reusable plastic for cold cups at concert venues and stadiums? Are aluminum cans better than bioplastic bottles for soft drinks at restaurants? 

Sustainably minded buyers can be overwhelmed by competing products claiming to be compostable, recyclable, low-carbon, non-toxic, etc. These choices are further complicated by the large number of materials and material combinations in food packaging and their various environmental and health impacts.

The UP Scorecard is an authoritative, free resource for businesses as well as environmental and human health advocates, which simplifies sustainable purchasing decisions. The online tool measures commonly used foodware and food packaging products with a single yardstick. Scores are provided for plastic pollution, chemicals of concern, climate, water use, sustainable sourcing, and recoverability

What’s the Most Sustainable Cold Cup to Use at a Concert Venue or Stadium?

The example below compares reusable stainless steel and reusable polypropylene (plastic) cups using the UP Scorecard tool. 

The UP Scorecard analysis makes it clear that stainless steel reusable cups are a far better choice than reusable polypropylene cups, so sustainability professionals at concert venues and stadiums would be wise to choose stainless steel. Of course, no packaging is always the best option whenever possible! There are many great initiatives venues can join like BYOBottle and the Refill Revolution, where water refill stations are provided to fans to fill their own bottles, and discounts or incentives are given on paid drink refills for those who bring their own reusable cups.

Photo by Brandise Danesewich.

What’s the Most Sustainable Soft Drink Bottle for Restaurants to Sell?

In another example using the UP Scorecard (see below), several different types of drink bottles are compared. Reusable stainless steel comes out again as the clear winner, followed by glass and aluminum. In what may come as a surprise to some, bioPET bottles come in slightly worse than regular PET bottles, with slightly higher climate impacts and water use (not to mention that bioplastics are not recyclable in most places and can contaminate regular PET plastic recycling if they are mixed in).

Transforming the Food Service Industry

The UP Scorecard has enormous potential for helping food industry professionals and others make informed decisions about the sustainability and human health impacts of foodware and food packaging products they buy. The beta version of the UP Scorecard is available now and includes data for cold cups and bottles, and when the tool launches officially on August 19, it will include many other types of packaging, including take-out containers, utensils, lids, straws, plates and trays, and more.

With its huge purchasing power, the food service industry could provide a transformative market signal to foodware and packaging manufacturers for more sustainable products that will:

  • support the development of a clean circular economy,
  • build consumer loyalty, and
  • manage against financial and reputational risks by demonstrating the industry’s commitment to protecting human and environmental health.

The tool was developed through the Single-Use Materials Decelerator (SUM’D)—an unprecedented cross-industry collaboration of leading foodservice companies, environmental NGOs, and technical experts. The collaborators include Plastic Pollution Coalition and member organizations and businesses, like Food Packaging Forum, Footprint Foundation, and Vessel Works. Also part of the effort are some of the biggest players in the global food service industry, including Aramark (U.S.), Compass Group (UK), and Sodexo (France), along with the U.S. National Restaurant Association.

When we ask companies not to use single-use plastic because it is toxic to human health and pollutes the environment, the first question they ask is what are they supposed to use instead? Now there is a tool to help companies better ‘understand packaging’ and how to choose the most sustainable option. The UP Scorecard is really exciting and could be transformative for the food service industry. It will be a huge help as we begin the cultural shift away from single-use materials to more sustainable ways to package and deliver food.”

Dianna Cohen, Co-Founder and CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition

Join the UP Scorecard Launch Event on August 19th!

More information about the UP Scorecard and SUM’D is available on UPscorecard.org, including the opportunity to register for an online launch event on Thursday, August 19th at 9:00am PDT, 12:00pm EDT, 6:00pm CEST. 

We look forward to jump-starting a more sustainable future free of plastic pollution with you! Join our global Coalition.

Header photo: Ben Harper at Bonnaroo Music Festival, by Danny Clinch.

Maxine Bédat’s new book Unraveled: The Life and Death of A Garmentis available for pre-order now with an official release date of June 1. Called a “groundbreaking chronicle of the birth and death of a pair of jeans” the book exposes the fractures in our global supply chains, and our relationships to each other, ourselves, and the planet.

Read an exclusive excerpt of the new book from Penguin Random House here.

“In the story that follows we will visit cotton farms in Texas, which was and still is a significant source of global cotton production, meeting farmers navigating the trade-offs between the health of their land, their bank accounts, and themselves,” writes Bédat. “In China we will see how those raw fibers are spun into yarn, dyed, and woven into denim. And in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh we will meet the women responsible for cutting and sewing fabric into a final garment. Back in America, we will go inside an Amazon warehouse to see how our jeans are shipped and make their way to our closets. Finally we travel to Ghana, where quite a bit of our clothing lands after we’ve had our way with it, becoming our jeans’ final resting place.”

Maxine Bédat is the Founder & Director of The New Standard Institute, which brings the latest independent, science-backed analysis of sustainability claims and the stories of the people on the ground to drive fashion into a force for good. She is a former lawyer and the cofounder of ethical fashion brand Zady.

Bédat was a panelist on a recent Plastic Pollution Coalition webinar in partnership with Fashion Revolution on phasing plastic out of fashion. Bédat spoke with Lauren Ritchie, Founder of The Eco Justice Project and PPC Youth Ambassador; Imari Walker Karega, Science Communicator & Environmental Engineering PhD Candidate, Duke University; Tahirah Hairston, Fashion & Beauty Director, Teen Vogue; and moderator Andrea Arria-Devoe, Executive Producer, STRAWS film & Contributing Editor at goop.

Watch the webinar below, and order the book Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment here.

Join our global Coalition.

Via Break Free From Plastic

Voters in four states expressed widespread approval for passing legislation to reduce plastic pollution in our communities, on land and in our waters, and ensure that polluters pay for the impacts of their products.

WASHINGTON — A new Public Policy Polling survey of bipartisan voters in Colorado, Florida, Maine, and Washington State finds broad public support for passing legislation to reduce plastic, air and water pollution, improve recycling, and hold manufacturers responsible for the packaging and end-of-life for their product. A large majority (73%) of voters surveyed support passing a law to improve recycling, and 62% of voters are more likely to support the proposal after hearing that it would force manufacturers to take responsibility for their product packaging.

“These findings are completely consistent with the multitude of other public opinion polls that have all shown the same thing: the public is sick and tired of plastic pollution, and they want manufacturers to take responsibility for recycling the items that they make,” said ​Nick Lapis, Director of Advocacy at Californians Against Waste​. “It’s time for policymakers and brands to get serious about reversing the out-of-control growth of wasteful packaging and disposable items.”

Likewise, 67% of voters who want to improve recycling are more likely to support legislation if it would ensure that our recyclables are not being dumped overseas. “U.S. companies are smuggling waste plastic inside waste paper that we import, and, because we don’t have a good recycling system here, people often wind up burning the plastic,” said ​Prigi Arisandi, Executive Director of ECOTON​. “Developed countries should treat and recycle their own waste in their countries. We demand the governments of exporting countries clean up the piles of plastic scraps that are being dumped in our rivers and drinking water sources for more than five million people.”

When asked about a particular law that has been proposed to manage product packaging, a majority (52%) of voters say they are more likely to support the law knowing that it will reduce the disproportionate negative impacts of pollution on low-income communities and communities of color. This shows that economic and racial justice is at the forefront of many voters’ minds. Voters also support laws to reduce related environmental concerns, such as air pollution (70%) which occurs at nearly every stage of the plastic life cycle—from fossil fuel extraction to manufacturing, distribution, and disposal, often via incineration or landfill.

“For many of our environmental justice communities boarding the largest petrochemical corridor in the nation, the refining and production of plastics has significant impacts on our health and well-being. Air quality standards in the greater Houston area need to be regulated,” said ​Juan Parras, Executive Director of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (T.E.J.A.S.)​. “Hopefully, the new administration will focus on enforcement of clean air standards throughout the nation.”

Voters also express serious concern about a recent study which found that fifteen million metric tons of plastic pollution enters the ocean every year. 76% and 80% of voters, respectively, would like to see more legislation aimed at reducing plastic and water pollution. Additionally, 79% of those surveyed support passing laws to protect the ocean.

“The equivalent of two garbage trucks’ worth of plastic is entering the ocean every minute, and that’s only going to increase with the projected growth in plastic production. Voters are clearly aware of the plastic pollution crisis threatening our blue planet and recognize it’s time for government action,” said ​Christy Leavitt, Oceana’s Plastics Campaign Director​. “If we want plastic to stop ending up in every corner of our environment, we need policies to reduce the production and use of this persistent pollutant.”

A ban on expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam products was also found to be popular. A majority (57%) of people surveyed say they support a statewide ban on foam takeout containers, while just 26% say they oppose it. “This level of support helps give us winds under our sails as more and more states consider bans on foam products, such as single-use foodware, coolers and packing peanuts,” said ​Heather Trim, Executive Director of Zero Waste Washington​.

“Foam foodware is pervasive in the marine environment. When released into the environment, intentionally or accidentally, it is carried from streets and through storm drains out to the ocean where it breaks down into smaller pieces and gets harder and more expensive to clean up,” said Jennie Romer, Legal Associate for the Surfrider Foundation’s Plastic Pollution Initiative​. “As a result of its very low economic value to recyclers, in addition to food residue contamination, foam foodware is rarely recycled and instead is sent to landfills or incinerated.”

“This survey shows that bipartisan support exists for legislation to address many of our concerns about the impacts of our plastic waste,” said ​Alex Truelove, Zero Waste Director for U.S. PIRG.​ “That 89% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans surveyed say they support a law to reduce plastic pollution, while 90% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans support passing laws to protect the ocean is highly encouraging. Hopefully our decision-makers will agree.”

“Now more than ever, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we need to understand and acknowledge the seriousness of the plastic crisis,” said ​Frankie Orona, Executive Director of the Society of Native Nations​. “Plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to preserving and ensuring a sustainable future. We are meant to coexist with Mother Earth and all living beings, and we are not and have not been doing our part. We need a healthy environment to live so that our children can not only survive, but thrive. The only way to do that is for us to come together as a people.”

The#breakfreefromplasticmovement is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in 2016, more than 11,000 organizations and individual supporters from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and to push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. BFFP member organizations and individuals share the common values of environmental protection and social justice, and work together through a holistic approach in order to bring about systemic change under the #breakfreefromplastic core pillars. This means tackling plastic pollution across the whole plastics value chain – from extraction to disposal – focusing on prevention rather than cure and providing effective solutions.