Nurdle Patrol participant Christina Marconi holds a nurdle the size of a small pea.
Courtesy of Jace Tunnell / Allegheny Front

When the petrochemical plant being built by Shell Chemical Appalachia in Beaver County is complete, it's anticipated to bring 600 jobs as well as spinoff industries. But some researchers and activists warn that it could also bring a new type of pollution to the Ohio River Valley — nurdles. 

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the country, will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025.
Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Voting mostly along party lines, the Ohio House has passed a bill banning local communities from restricting the use of plastic bags, sending it on to the Senate.

Illustration of the R.E. Burger power plant.
David Wilson / Belt Magazine

The R.E. Burger coal-fired power plant’s final day ended, appropriately enough, in a cloud of black smoke and dust. From 1944 to 2011, the plant generated power, fumes and ash in the Ohio River Valley. It was one of dozens of coal and steel plants dotting the banks of the river, which for years has ranked among the nation’s most heavily polluted.

 Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

Ohio lawmakers are considering a pair of Republican-backed bills that would toss out current and future bans on single-use plastic bags passed by local governments. But there’s a critic who could potentially trash the “ban the bans” idea: Gov. Mike DeWine.

The U.S. used to send a lot of its plastic waste to China to get recycled. But last year, China put the kibosh on imports of the world's waste. The policy, called National Sword, freaked out people in the U.S. — a huge market for plastic waste had just dried up.

Where was it all going to go now?

Empty Bin Zero Waste

Ohio’s first zero-waste store is now open for business. The Canton store sells reusable items to replace single-use disposables like straws, facial wipes and sandwich bags.

How To Give Up Plastic

Aug 12, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Every year, roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic is dumped into the oceans. Sometimes, the waste forms into floating islands. And, over time, the plastics break down into microplastics that are even harder to remove.

Many are looking for ways to kick the plastic habit.

Will McCallum, who is Head of Oceans at Greenpeace UK, has written a book about how the process of giving up plastic.

Today on All Sides with Ann Fisher: Will McCallum talks about the challenges of giving up plastic.

England's largest retailers are now selling 90% fewer plastic bags than they did before a 5-pence plastic bag fee began in late 2015, the U.K. government says. In the past year alone, the retailers' sales fell by nearly half, from more than 1 billion bags to fewer than 550 million.

The statistics come from reports by the seven biggest retailers in England: Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, The Co-operative Group, Tesco and Waitrose.

The avalanche of plastic waste that's rolling over land and sea has inspired numerous potential solutions. Some involve inventing our way out of the mess by creating new kinds of natural materials that will harmlessly degrade if they're thrown away.

Others say it might be quicker to change people's throwaway behavior instead.

Drew and Joan Norman have been producing organic vegetables on 60 acres just north of Baltimore since 1983. On a recent spring day, signs of another new season at One Straw Farm were everywhere: seedlings in the greenhouse waiting to be transplanted, asparagus ready to be picked, tiny leaves of red- and green-leaf lettuce sprouting out of the ground — and rows and rows of plastic covering the ground on each field.

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the country, will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025.
Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Bexley City Council voted Tuesday to ban single-use plastics, just hours after Cuyahoga County voted on its own plastic bag ban.

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the country, will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025.
Rogelio V. Solis / AP

A team of Ohio State researchers have developed a material that could help reduce plastic pollution.

Going Plastic-less In The U.S.

Apr 8, 2019
Samuel Mann / Flickr

Plastic in the oceans. Plastic on the beaches, berms and ditches that line the roadways. 

A lot of that plastic has been used just once. In fact, geologists estimate that the entire earth could be covered with discarded single-use plastic such as straws, cups, plates and bags. 

And that plastic isn’t going away. 

In response, some cities want to ban single-use plastics. 

Today on All Sides,  the shift away from plastic and toward zero waste. 

Ohio state lawmakers are trying to ban local governments from implementing fees on plastic bags. The legislation is moving through the General Assembly as major cities around the country move in the opposite direction.

Kroger To Phase Out Plastic Bags At All Stores

Aug 23, 2018
Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the country, will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025.
Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Kroger Co., the nation's largest grocery chain, has begun to phase out the use of plastic bags as more Americans grow uncomfortable with their impact on the environment.