Plastic from Ireland that was meant to be incinerated is now being found along Maine’s coastlines after it fell off a cargo ship, according to The Guardian. Maine environmentalists are outraged at the mistake that’s left plastic waste in its hands.

Tiny plastic pieces are now washing up with each tide in Penobscot Bay. “This event was an unfortunate and preventable accident and speaks to a larger issue, that is, how we process trash,” Genevieve McDonald, a Democratic representative in the Maine legislature, said. “We should not be in a position where any facility needs to import trash. This came as a surprise to me because I know how much plastic we create in the US.”

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Re-Gen Waste, the plastic handler said the plastic was being transported during a storm and some fell off the ship. “We have been active in the interim, working closely with Searsport’s town manager, Sprague Energy terminal and Penobscot Energy Recovery Co, to ensure that every measure possible is employed, to redress the situation,” Re-Gen Waste said in a statement.

It’s also ignited a continued discussion on Maine taking and processing waste from outside the state. “It’s legal to do, which is part of the problem,” said Sarah Nichols, Sustainable Maine director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine in Bangor Daily News. “You have to ask yourself why would it make sense for the U.K. to ship waste over here? It’s because we make it easy. This waste is going to follow the path of least resistance.”

There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter, and Sheet Maskspollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads!

To learn more about the impact of plastic waste, please read the articles below:

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