The Ocean Blue Project, whose main focus is to protect and conserve the environment through education and by providing service learning projects, has some exciting news. Founder Richard Arterbury and his team’s efforts gained the attention of Governor Kate Brown, who recently proclaimed April 23rd to be Annual Oregon Coast Cleanup Awareness Day. This was in direct response to plastic washing up on the Oregon Coast at an alarming rate and Ocean Blue’s work to create a zero-landfill solution for the Oregon Coast by working with partners to recycle collected plastic.
Ocean Blue has been partnering with TerraCycle, an organization that works with conscientious individuals and companies to upcycle collected plastic into new consumer products. One such company is Head & Shoulders, which launched a project to use 25% of beach plastic for their shampoo bottles. Plastic isn’t the only litter that can be upcycled; cigarette butts collected by volunteers are being turned into ashtrays for hotels, which lowers the demand for new plastic and keeps it out of the landfills.
Arterbury was pleased with the proclamation, saying, “I have forwarded this to the president, requesting this become a day for the United States. Over 60% of the people live next to the coast and it will not be long [before] over 80% will reside on the coast. It’s hard to imagine, but the world is over 70% percent water.” He went on to praise his team’s efforts and how hard they’re working to raise awareness and teach others how to collect plastic from beaches.
Ocean Blue hopes to someday have 15 collection sites, from Cannon Beach to Newport, and to have thousands of people helping with Ocean Blue’s beach cleanup initiative. “One thing is for sure,” Arterbury says, “Every piece of plastic picked up from the beach saves marine wildlife, as the waves would have taken the plastic back to sea.”
To support the Ocean Blue Project, check out their website: http://www.oceanblueproject.
By Anika Lautenbach