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Plastic-Free Business: A Roadmap to Sustainability

Learn all about how & why to reduce plastics at your business, and receive your #PlasticFree305 business certification!

We were thrilled to partner with Miami-Dade County’s District 5 Office, Commissioner Eileen Higgins, Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resource Management, and Chief Bay Officer Irela Bague to bring you this webinar all about sustainable business practices.

Debris Free Oceans discusses why you should reduce single-use plastics from your business, featuring opportunities to save money, increase efficiency, enhance branding, and support clean oceans and healthy communities. DFO then walks you through how to eliminate plastics through switching to reusable products, opting for biodegradable disposables, only giving out disposables upon request, and cutting out disposables that you do not need.

Then Miami-Dade DERM will walk you through how to be recognized through the County’s #PlasticFree305 business certification program.

Beyond Our Oceans – Solving the Plastic Pollution Crisis

A 45-minute presentation on the history and lifecycle impacts of plastic pollution, and how to be a part of the solution.

First you will learn about the scale of the plastic pollution crisis, and a history lesson on how we got to this point. Then we will walk through the impacts of plastics on wildlife, climate change, human health, and social justice, throughout the lifecycle of plastic products, from production to use to disposal. We close with a discussion on how all levels of society can help be a part of the solution, including youth, consumers, businesses, and governments.

Additional reading: City of Miami Circularity Assessment Protocol; Debris Free Oceans’ blog; Plastic & Climate: the Hidden Cost of Plastic Planet CIEL report; Plastic & Health: the Hidden Cost of a Plastic Planet CIEL report

Standards met: HE.912.C.1.3, SC.912.L.17.11, SC.912.L.17.14, SC.912.L.17.15, SC.912.L.17.16, SC.912.L.17.17, SC.912.L.17.8, SC.912.L.17.18, SC.912.L.17.20, SS.912.C.2.10, SS.912.C.2.11, SS.912.S.8.2

Sustainable Holiday Season Webinar

Learn all about how to celebrate the holiday season as sustainably as possible!

Featuring tips on how to reduce waste, combat climate change, and protect our planet as you prep for the holidays that you celebrate, covering topics ranging from selecting decorations, to preparing food & drink for parties, to choosing gifts and how to best wrap them! Thank you to the City of Miami Beach for funding this programming.

Sustainachella: We Love Biscayne Bay

Learn how to avoid, identify and report pollutants as well as other hazards that can impact the bay.

We teamed up with the City of Miami Beach and Miami Waterkeeper to host a webinar all about the sources and impacts of pollution on Biscayne Bay, and how you can help! Watch to learn about the threats that plastic and nutrient pollution pose to our Bay. You will also learn how you can participate in the reporting, prevention, and removal of various forms of pollution.

Additional reading: 2022 Biscayne Bay Report Card, Biscayne Bay Task Force Report

Standards met: SC.912.L.17.14, SC.912.L.17.16, SC.912.L.17.20, SC.912.N.4.1, SC.912.CS-PC.1.3, SS.912.C.2.10, SS.912.S.8.2.

Marine Debris & Coral Reefs

Tune in to learn all about the impact of marine debris and disease on coral and how you can help protect our reefs!

DFO Program Director Maddie Kaufman discusses impacts of marine debris and plastics on our coral reefs, and Jenna Dilworth, the Reef Resilience Coordinator at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection talks about how you can report marine incidents as a citizen scientist through SEAFAN, the Southeast Florida Action Network!

Additional reading:,,,

Standards met:SC.912.L.17.16, SC.912.L.17.8, SC.912.L.17.20, SC.912.N.4.1


Plastics & Public Policy

Learn all about how you can engage in plastics-related environmental policy.

Policy expert Cat Uden, Oceana‘s South Florida Campaign Organizer, presents about the status of plastic legislation on local, state, and federal levels, and about how we, as citizens, can take action to support plastic legislation and help create the change we’d like to see in our communities, our country, and around the world.

Additional reading: Debris Free Oceans’ blog posts about the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act and about State-Level Advocacy,

Standards met: SC.912.L.17.14, SC. 912.L.17.15, SC.912.L.17.16, SC.912.L.17.8, SC.912.L.17.17, SC.912.L.17.12, SC.912.N.4.1, SC.912.CS-PC.1.3, SC.912.N.4.1, HE.912.C.1.3, SS.912.C.2.2, SS.912.C.2.10, SS.912.C.2.11, SS.912.S.8.2, CTE-GPA.68.GOV.02.04, CTE-GPA.68.GOV.02.05, CTE-GPA.68.GOV.02.06, CTE-GPA.68.GENRL.03.01, CTE-GPA.68.GENRL.05.01

Crash Course in Plastic Pollution

In 10 minutes, you will learn the basics of plastic pollution sources, consequences, and solutions.

A quick lesson on the abundance & sources of plastic pollution, the associated impacts on human health, the economy, marine life, & climate change, and attainable & innovative solutions to the problem.

Additional reading: Debris Free Oceans’ blog; Plastic & Climate: the Hidden Cost of Plastic Planet CIEL report; Plastic & Health: the Hidden Cost of a Plastic Planet CIEL report

Standards met: HE.912.C.1.3, SC.912.L.17.11, SC.912.L.17.14, SC.912.L.17.16, SC.912.L.17.17


Environmental Injustice in the Caribbean and the US

In 1 hour you will learn about environmental injustice with Teju Adisa-Farrar.

Learn about environmental injustice with Teju Adisa-Farrar, MS, an equity consultant, geographer, writer, and intersectional environmental activist. Teju teaches about historical environmental racism in the United States, and instances of injustice related to her experiences as a Jamaican-American. Maddie from DFO touches on injustices associated with the lifecycle of single-use plastics, and historical and ongoing environmental racism in Miami.

Additional reading: Petrochemical America by Richard Misrach; Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility, by Dr. Dorceta Taylor; Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Standards met: SC.912.L.17.20, SC.912.L.17.16, HE.912.C.1.3, SS.912.S.7.2


Composting & Food Waste

1.75 h to learn about food waste, how to avoid generating it, and how to compost.

Learn about the problems associated with food waste, how to avoid generating food waste through responsible shopping and meal prep, and how to sustainably dispose of food scraps through composting. This lesson features lessons on various methods of composting, including community composts, bin composts, tumbling composts, and worm composts! You will hear from Sanna O’Sullivan, head gardener at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Julie Frans, head chef at Della Bowls, and more.

Additional reading: Reduce your food waste with these 7 helpful tips by della bowls.

Standards met: SC.912.L.17.20, SC.912.L.17.17


Sustainable Urban Gardening

A two-hour course on how to create a sustainable garden at home and the importance of gardening education.

Learn about how to create a sustainable garden at home, the importance of gardening education, and how these activities contribute to the health of Biscayne Bay. Jennifer Possley, South Florida Conservation Program Manager at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, speaks about the importance of native plants & how you can acquire free ones through the Connect to Protect Program. Then Muriel Olivares, Co-Owner of Little River Cooperative, teaches about low-waste, chemical-free, urban gardening and Community Supported Agriculture. Next, Jackie Roth, Project Coordinator at Lotus House Shelter, speaks about the shelter’s hydroponic farm, and using it as a tool to empower shelter guests with gardening education. Finally, Rachel Silverstein, Executive Director of Miami Waterkeeper talks about how this all relates to the August 2020 fish kill and how sustainable gardening & community involvement can help save Biscayne Bay.

Additional reading: “Florida, Polluted Paradise” – Look Magazine article from 1949; Little River Cooperative blog; Connect to Protect native planting guide

Standards met: SC.912.L.17.20, SC.912.L.17.16, SC.912.L.17.17, SC.912.L.17.15, SC.912.L.17.12


Sustainable Fashion

In 45 minutes you’ll learn all about how to be an eco-conscious consumer from sustainable fashion experts!

The fashion business is one of the most polluting industries. Hear from Colleen Coughlin, founder of the Full Edit, about the importance of repairing, upcycling, and repurposing items! Then learn from Anna Coon from UThrift about the second-hand market and the importance of avoiding fast fashion. Lastly, Laura Graham, Director of Apparel at Waterlust, discusses recycling single-use plastics into clothing and using ocean-inspired patterns to communicate about marine conservation.

Additional reading: “The Environmental Cost of Making Things” and “Taking the Leap into Advocate Apparel”, both Waterlust blog posts.

Standards met: SC.912.L.17.20, SC.912.L.17.17,SC.912.L.17.15


Self-Care and Sustainability

Learn in 1.5 h how to better take care of yourself while simultaneously taking care of the planet!

After a brief summary of the problem of plastic pollution and pervasiveness of single-use plastics in the self-care industry, Lush Cosmetics Sustainability Manager Katrina Shum speaks about sustainability in the beauty industry, and about their initiatives to create “naked” packaging-free products. Megan Newmans, Doterra Essential Oils Wellness Advocate, then talks about how to use essential oils to make your own DIY body products and cleaning supplies to avoid plastic packaging. DFO’s Chef Andrew Scholar Director Sofia then discusses how to take care of your mental health as a social and environmental advocate. Finally, Julianne Aerhee of Be-Within guides you through an earth-inspired closing meditation.

Standards met: SC.912.L.17.20, SC.912.L.17.17



Here you can find more information about the Florida Department of Education’s academic standards and how they are met by our curriculum.


Assess the need for adequate waste management strategies.

  • Plastic pollution requires effective waste management strategies.
  • Landfilling of plastic contributes to climate change
  • The process of plastic recycling is currently “broken”


Evaluate the costs and benefits of renewable and nonrenewable resources, such as water, energy, fossil fuels, wildlife, and forests.

  • Incorrect assumptions about fossil fuels have led to significant decline in environmental quality, including the false assumption that we have limitless access to oil and disposal capacity.
  • Discussion is provided about how nonrenewable resources must be viewed in a circular, not linear, manner, if we want to continue using them.
  • It is noted that the overconsumption of renewable resources (e.g. paper) can also be costly. A material is only renewable if consumed consciously. 


Discuss the effects of technology on environmental quality.

  • Technological advances resulted in the mass production of plastic in the 1950s after World War II, which has led to a plastic pollution crisis harming environmental quality
  • Technological advances in recycling can enhance environmental quality


Discuss the large-scale environmental impacts resulting from human activity, including waste spills, oil spills, runoff, greenhouse gases, ozone depletion, and surface and groundwater pollution.

  • Waste spills and runoff of plastic harms land and water animals as well as human health.
  • Leachate from landfills contaminates groundwater.
  • Plastic manufacturing, transport, and disposal all release greenhouse gases, causing sea level rise and climate change.


Recognize the consequences of the losses of biodiversity due to catastrophic events, climate changes, human activity, and the introduction of invasive, non-native species.

  • Plastic pollution from human activity impacts >700 marine species; by 2050, 99% of seabirds will have consumed plastic
  • Plastic pollution also impacts soil, plants, and land animals


Describe how human population size and resource use relate to environmental quality.

  • With billions of people on the planet, every single-use plastic item matters (i.e. “It is only 1 plastic straw” – said 8 billion people). 


Predict the impact of individuals on environmental systems and examine how human lifestyles affect sustainability.

  • Adopting a lifestyle focused on the 5Rs (especially reduce) can eliminate a majority of the plastic consumed and disposed of.
  • Tips on how to reduce single-use plastic consumption on a daily basis are provided.


Assess the effectiveness of innovative methods of protecting the environment.

  • Miranda Wang’s technology to convert non-recyclable plastic back into its original chemicals for resale on the market can help solve the climate crisis.
  • Eco-friendly brands are using innovative technologies to incorporate recycled plastic into shoes and clothing (Waterlust, Parley, Girlfriend Collective, Volcom)
  • Boyan Slat’s ocean cleanup project may cause more harm than good when put into practice in the ocean; technologies applied to rivers and stormwater outfalls may be more effective.


Discuss the political, social, and environmental consequences of sustainable use of land.

  • Employing sustainable gardening methods such as organic gardening (avoiding pesticides and fertilizers) and hydroponic farming to prevent groundwater pollution and nutrient run-off into our oceans
  • How plastic production and waste management contributes to unsustainable land use, as fracking, petrochemical plants, and landfills contribute to air and water pollution


Explain how scientific knowledge and reasoning provide an empirically-based perspective to inform society’s decision making.

  • Using plastic pollution data to inform plastic reduction ordinances


Evaluate the impacts of irresponsible use of information (e.g., plagiarism and falsification of data) on collaborative projects.

  • Discussion of greenwashing: the recycling symbol and labels of biodegradability & compostability are not regulated by the FTC
  • The plastics industry has used COVID-19 to ignite fear of reusables but this is not backed by scientific evidence


Discuss how various oceanic and freshwater processes, such as currents, tides, and waves, affect the abundance of aquatic organisms.

  • Oceanic currents that dictate nutrient distribution also drive the distribution of marine organisms. These currents may also be influencing microplastic pollution, and therefore may be delivering plastic pollution to biodiversity hot spots 


Describe how the Internet facilitates global communication.

  • How images and videos on social media have contributed to the anti-plastic pollution movement (the viral video of straw in turtle’s nose leading to the skip-the-straw movement; the image of a horseshoe crab using a bottle cap as its shell; the image of a seahorse holding onto a Q-tip)
  • Social media challenges leading to global cleanup efforts (Take 3 for the Sea; the Glove Challenge)


Explain how scientific knowledge and reasoning provide an empirically-based perspective to inform society’s decision making.

  • Marine debris data is used to inform plastic policy and influences society’s behavior around use of single-use plastics


Evaluate how environment and personal health are interrelated.

  • Plastic pollution in the environment can ultimately end up in the food chain and in the seafood we consume, impacting human health.
  • Plastic manufacturing contributes to air pollution that has been linked to various human health concerns including cancer and reproductive impairment.
  • Microplastics and plastic additives can leach from wrappers, containers, and bottles into your food and drink, impacting human health


Describe how social problems have changed over time. Examples may include, but are not limited to, juvenile delinquency, crime, poverty, and discrimination.

  • Historically, landfills and waste facilities are located near BIPOC communities, leading to disproportionately health impacts caused by pollution
  • More and more plastic production facilities/petrochemical plants are being constructed near majority BIPOC communities, and the associated air pollution is leading to disproportionate health impacts on Black and Brown communities (ie Cancer Alley)


Evaluate the importance of political participation and civic participation.

  • Contacting your representatives and making public comments is hugely important to the political process


Monitor current public issues in Florida.

  • Single-use plastics currently pose a threat to South Florida’s coastal ecosystems, our local economy, human health, and climate change


Analyze public policy solutions or courses of action to resolve a local, state, or federal issue.

  • Plastic and styrofoam ordinances have been passed in 20+ Florida municipalities to reduce plastic pollution
  • The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act includes various courses of action to reduce marine debris, improve waste management, and move towards a circular economy


Describe how collective behavior (working in groups) can influence and change society.

  • International Coastal Cleanup Day has removed huge amounts of debris from our beaches and oceans, and contributed to data that informs policy and action
  • Collective advocacy for legislation has allowed plastic and styrofoam ordinances to be introduced and passed


Discuss how bills become laws.

  • Describes how bills need co-sponsors and need to be agenda-ed and supported by different committees


Identify organizations that engage in the political process.

  • Local organizations including Debris Free Oceans, Oceana, and Surfrider Foundation provide opportunities to engage in public policy


Develop a public policy and explain the benefits to the community.

  • Single-use plastic and styrofoam ordinances reduce plastic litter on our streets and beaches


Identify public issues at the local, state, and national levels.

  • Plastic pollution threatens our local and state ecosystems and economies
  • Air pollution and climate change impacts associated with plastic production present issues on a national scale.


Identify differing political or social perspectives on a public policy impacting the local community.

  • Incineration and chemical recycling have been introduced as solutions to plastic pollution but their potential efficacy is debated

I can’t fully express how much I enjoyed the [online] workshop. You (Maddie) and the other presenters really did a wonderful, informative, and engaging presentation.

Anonymous Attendee