Looking back on 2015

It looks like it’s been a while since I’ve posted any updates here, but there are lots of posts on our Chesapeake Bay Trash Trawl site!

As we enter the last month of the year, and I’ve written half a dozen grant reports and other summaries of the work we’ve done at Trash Free Maryland, it seems like a good time to share it all with you:

– We passed foam food packaging bans in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. We trained a dozen other organizations on the issue and helped them be effective advocates, demonstrating a broad coalition of support. Together with the DC foam ban we passed in 2014, more than 2.5 million people, and 15,000 businesses, will be using more sustainable and less toxic food packaging in 2016.

– We passed a first-of-its-kind ban on plastic microbeads in face wash, toothpaste, and other personal care products. We worked with leadership in the General Assembly, industry representatives, and the Maryland Department of Environment to enact a ban that includes most synthetic microbeads, keeping these tiny plastic pellets out of the water and out of our seafood.

– We asked DC and Maryland to update their programs for keeping trash out of the Anacostia River, modifying the way they measure their progress so it makes more sense to real people and ensures that the river will one day (soon!) be truly trash-free.

– Our Trash Trawl is the largest study yet of plastic pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, collecting more than 75 samples of water, plastic pieces, and fish. Once the data analysis is complete in 2016, we can show how the plastic bag in the tree in front of your house ends up back on your dinner plate, possibly contaminated with chemicals. You can read about it in CityLab and the Baltimore Sun. Or watch NatGeo’s video about it right here:

We also worked with local government officials who wanted our input on their policy proposals to reduce litter in their communities, spoke to more than 600 community members and students from elementary school through college, and reached hundreds more through online streaming and videos.

Trash Free Maryland started in 2010 and became a funded organization in 2013; this year we applied to the IRS for our nonprofit status to make it all official.* We’ve achieved all of that success with a single staff member and a devoted board of directors, but we can’t do it alone. With your help and financial gift, we can achieve even more in 2016! Click here to make a secure donation online today. And thank you for all you do for a trash-free Maryland!

* Donations come directly to Trash Free Maryland now, and will be tax deductible retroactively once our 501c3 determination comes through. It’s technical and nerdy and you should check with your tax professional for your particular situation.

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