SINGLE-USE PLASTIC SOLUTION GUIDE FOR DECISION MAKERS: BUSINESS, NON-PROFIT, EDUCATION & POLICY.

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    • Abstract:
      Research Question Policy makers, businesses, nonprofits and individuals have been seeking solutions to the single-use plastic waste problems found in their communities. Many researchers have studied green values and sustainability as a means to encourage sustainability decision making. Our exploratory research will provide insight and knowledge on two research questions: (1) Are consumers' green values and concern about single-use plastic waste more concentrated to individuals close to the ocean? (2) How can you increase consumers' concern for single-use plastic waste and their behavioral changes? Based on our survey analysis and thematic analysis of over 100 single-use plastic waste solutions we have developed a guide around five policy solution categories: (1) business resources, (2) public policy resources, (3) non-profit resources, (4) education resources, (5) personal resources. These solution categories and strategies will be discussed more in the following manuscript. Method and Data The methodology uses a mixed method of research that includes both quantitative survey analysis and qualitative thematic analysis to build a guide for single use plastic solutions that meet policy makers, businesses, non-profits and individuals in their solutions process. The survey analysis is a Qualtrics Q-panel with participants evenly distributed across the U.S. Each participant was asked to review the Plastic Pollution Coalition (2016) video produced in collaboration with Jeff Bridges to educate consumers on the impacts of single use plastic waste on humans and their environment. Participants were asked to answer a series of questions on (1) Green Consumer Value Questions (Haws, Winterich, and Naylor 2012), (2) Concern for Contamination (Petrowski et al 2010) specifically single-use plastic waste disgust questionnaire developed by the research team. A structured search was conducted to find other means of communicating the single-use plastic message beyond the video produced by the Plastic Pollution Coalition. The results of a 6-month search utilizing Google Trends to narrow the results applying keywords such as: "what are single use plastic", "single-use plastic", "single use plastic ban", "plastic bag bans" developed categories for (1) name of resource, (2) content type, (3) policy solution, (4) link to information. Summary of Findings The results address consumers' closeness to the ocean and are more likely to be concerned about green values. Equally distributing the survey across the US allows to explore the individual's placement and green values. [California: (n=95) had a Green Consumer Value (M=1.99, SD=1.03), Single Use Plastic (M=4.15, SD=0.64) and Contamination (M=3.37, SD=0.93)] [New York: (n=20) had a Green Consumer Value (M=2.06, SD=0.81), Single Use Plastic (M=4.08, SD=0.81) and Contamination (M=2.69, SD=1.12)] [Florida: (n=18) had a Green Consumer Value (M=2.03, SD=1.14), Single Use Plastic (M=4.29, SD=0.82), and Contamination (M=2.85, SD=1.12)] [Texas: (n=18) had a Green Consumer Value (M=2.37, SD=1.24), Single Use Plastic (M=4.62, SD=0.73), and Contamination (M=3.10, SD=0.87)] [Oregon: (n=12) had a Green Consumer Value (M=1.81, SD=0.71), Single Use Plastic M=4.14 (0.47), and Contamination (M=3.29, SD=0.65)]. Key Contributions The key contributions to practice include the implementation guide for organizations, government and policy makers as a scalable plastic reduction program. A collection of over 100 policy solutions has been categorized into five major resource groups: (1) Business Resources (N=25), (2) Public Policy Resources, (N=5) (3) Nonprofit Resources, (N=15) (4) Education Resources, (N=25) and (5) Personal Resources, (N=33). This solution guide provides those in practice with the necessary information needed to continue to build their own tailored single-use plastic waste solution. The tools and links to more information include: books, videos, websites, educational kits, documentaries, movies, packaging alternatives and many more have been compiled. The current research adds to the existing knowledge by expanding the discussion on sustainability more narrowly to single-use plastic. In addition, the paper synthesizes many resources as a form of a meta-analysis enabling stakeholders to meet their needs as well as provide scalable solutions for future endeavors. As we continue to research single-use plastic waste and solutions, we will share with the growing list of strategies enabled by non-profits organization, educational institutions and individuals to help build awareness, understanding and progress to protect our planet. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]