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Institute of Environmental Research and Education

Plastic Pollution Project


Faculty from the University of North Florida and Eckerd College received a $340,000 award from the NOAA Marine Debris Program to reduce single-use plastic consumption and foster long-term pro-environmental behaviors among undergraduates in coastal communities. The goal of the research program is to reduce generation of marine debris in those areas over time. Learn more about the research project.

IERE Support

The goal of the project is to educate the community about the harmful results of using single-use plastics, and how students, faculty, and staff can reduce their plastic consumption by choosing to refuse. IERE’s role in the sponsored research project is planning and implementing single-use plastic reduction outreach and education initiatives and involving students every step of the way . IERE staff and students are facilitating single-use plastic reduction workshops and clean-ups for faculty, staff, students, and community members in Northeast Florida.

Volunteers at the beach

Community Cleanups

As community members we have a responsibility and play a vital role in protecting our environment. We must act responsibly to maintain a healthy and enjoyable environment for everyone. There are organizations around the world focused on protecting the environment from plastic pollution. 

Join other students, faculty and staff in helping remove trash and debris from parks and waterways in Northeast Florida. Visit the homepage for details on upcoming events.  

  • Palmetto Leaves Regional Park — Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021
  • Northbank Riverwalk — Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021
  • Jacksonville Beach — Saturday, Mar. 27, 2021
  • Henry J. Klutho Park — Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021
  • Reddie Point Preserve — Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021
  • Northbank Riverwalk — Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022
  • GTM Research Reserve — Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022
Speaker at podium

Workshops and Lectures

A number of education and outreach activities will be planned throughout the two-year project. These activities are designed to raise awareness about marine debris, facilitate understanding of the connections between actions and impacts in the marine environment, and encourage behavior change. These activities will include both formal (e.g., courses or modules) and informal (e.g., lectures, workshops, cleanups open to voluntary participation by members of the community) education experiences.

Attend a virtual workshop to expand your knowledge of single-use plastics and how they impact the environment. You can view past recordings below or visit the homepage for details on upcoming events. 

  • Single-Use Plastics 101: Catherine Uden, Oceana — Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021
  • Lifecycle of Plastics: Dr. Jesse Sherry, Eckerd College — Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021
  • Ending Plastics Workshop: Alexis Goldsmith, Beyond Plastics — Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021
  • Plastic Pollution in National Parks: National Parks Conservation Association — Tuesday, March 1, 2022
  • Science to Solutions: The 5 Gyres Institute — Monday, April 4, 2022 (no recording)