Cape Fear River Watch offers tips on reducing plastic waste during Plastic Free July

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —Cape Fear River Watch is recognizing “Plastic Free July”. The organization is offering residents tips on how to minimize their use of plastics, and has implemented new ways to reduce plastic and other litter from entering our waterways.

Plastic Free July is an annual global event bringing awareness to plastic waste and plastic consumption.

During Plastic Free July,  Cape Fear River Watch encourages residents to limit using single-use plastics, like disposable grocery bags. They advise residents to utilize reusable bags, drink from reusable water bottles, and use silverware, instead of plastic utensils.

“We’ve kind of become accustomed to just litter being everywhere, it’s just kind of a part of life now, but when you get down into the nitty gritty work of documenting that type of litter, you’re going to find a lot of plastic, and not just plastic, but single use plastic. So, just stuff that somebody uses for fifteen seconds that never truly breaks down,” said Rob Clark, Cape Fear River Watch’s water quality programs manager.

According to the organization, 85 % of litter found in the Wilmington area is plastic.

“So far this year, from January to today, we have cleaned up over 8,000 lbs. of litter from our waterways. So we’re easily going to cross the 10,000-pound threshold this year,” said Clark.

In the last month, Cape Fear River Watch has installed four new structures in drains in Wilmington and Leland, to help reduce the amount of litter from entering our local waterways.

“One of the devices we’ve got right now is called a LittaTrap, and it is basically a catch filter net that you can install in the curbside stormwater drains, because those stormwater drain systems are connected directly to our urban water systems, that drain into our rivers, which drain into our oceans. So, basically they allow for the intercepting of plastic and other types of litter before it has a chance to be deposited into the urban water system,” said Clark.

Cape Fear River Watch plans to soon place another new structure in area creeks, a Trash Trout, which will help trap and collect litter floating in the waterways.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Top Stories