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Students cleaning up trash

Plastic Pollution Project

Reduce single-use UNFFaculty 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 on 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. Visit Volunteer Opportunities to learn more about opportunities in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. 


Join other students, faculty and staff in helping remove trash and debris from parks and waterways in Northeast Florida.

  • 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
  • Visit the calendar of events for details on upcoming events
Speaker at lecturn

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.


Research and Other


  • Largo-Wight, E. (April 2022). Time to do away with single-use lunch trays in Duval schools. [Guest Article]. The Florida Times-Union, Link to Article
  • Rodefer, N.*, Largo-Wight, E., & Truelove, H.B. (April 2022). Phasing out single-use plastics, feasibility, and student opinion. UNF Showcase of Osprey Advancements in Research and Scholarship. Jacksonville, FL . (Awarded Project of Merit) 
  • Cox, R.*, Largo-Wight, E., & Truelove, H.B. (April 2022). Feasibility of Phasing out Single use plastics at UNF. UNF Showcase of Osprey Advancements in Research and Scholarship. Jacksonville, FL . 
  • Minichiello, H.*, Hill, J.*, Truelove, H.B., Largo-Wight, E., Siuda, A., Gowans, S., Debure, K., & Sherry, J. (April 2022). Theory of Planned Behavior predicting single-use plastic behavior. UNF Showcase of Osprey Advancements in Research and Scholarship. Jacksonville, FL . 
  • Largo-Wight, E., Minichiello, H.*, Hill, J.*, Truelove, H.B., Suida, A.N.S., Gowans, S., & Sherry, J. (March 2022). An empirical test of an expanded version of the Theory of Planned Behavior in predicting single-use plastic behavior on campuses. American Academy of Health Behavior, Key Largo, FL. 
  • Minichiello, H.*, Hill, J.*, Largo-Wight, E., Siuda, A., Sherry, J., Gowans, S., Debure, K., & Barnes Truelove, H. (February 2022). Challenging single-use plastic behavior: A pilot study. Bay Area Scientific Information Symposium & The Association of National Estuaries Program (BASIS7-ANEP), St. Petersburg, FL.