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Cool Solutions

Jan 28, 2021

When Teaneck NJ Girl Scouts saw pictures of birds tangled in plastic bags, they got to work and sparked a movement that led to the strongest state plastic ban in the US.

This is an engaging story about how big change happens when local efforts add up; with side trips into the chemistry of plastics, the importance of plankton poop, and comics as a metaphor for life.

Judith Enck Beyond Plastics
John Weber Surfrider Foundation
Steve Jasiecki Sustainable Downbeach
Monica Coffee Sustainable Downbeach
Eliza Stilletto NJ Girl Scout Troop 19


:11 How big a deal is plastic for climate?


1:46 Science nerd minute: the chemistry of making plastic from fossil fuel


2:26 Ocean plastic’s impacts, from plankton to people


5:15 The dramatic rise in plastic production and greenhouse gas emissions


5:44 Why giving up your straw won’t solve the problem.


7:55 Monica and Steve in Downbeach, NJ decide to work on a bag ban


10:35 Political pushback and a detour by balloon


12:32 Victory in Downbeach


13:11 Teaneck Girl Scout Troop 19 gets passionate about plastics


15:26 Girl Scouts go to Teaneck City Council and get a pat on the head.




18:48 Victory in Teaneck


19:11 Municipal bans spread to other towns and the campaign for a statewide ban begins.


21:00 The girls’ Plastic Bag Monster meets a real plastic lobbyist, and they do some lobbying of their own.


25:52 Monica and Eliza share the big lessons



Beyond Plastic 

South Jersey Surfrider, Rise Above Plastics

Banning Plastic Bags Town by Town, a guide