What grocery stores won’t tell you about plastic

It’s next to impossible to be a plastic-free grocery shopper. Unless you live near a boutique store that offers goods naked, you likely don’t have much choice about buying food wrapped in plastic netting or transparent film. 

Walk into any of the biggest grocery chains in the United States, and you’ll see row upon row of items in containers and bags that are designed to be used once and trashed. Americans produced 14.7 million tons of such waste in 2015, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Of that, only 14.6% was recycled. 

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Families limit their plastic use
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Families limit their plastic use
A combination photo shows Natalia Lyritsis, (L), 5, Alexandra Patrikiou, (2nd L), 39, Alice Lyritsis, (2nd R), 3, and Vassilis Lyritsis, (R), 46 (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Athens, Greece, May 24, 2018. "We recycle plastic, paper, glass etc... and try to buy products made from recycled materials. We try to have as many plants as possible on our balcony," said Alexandra. "The use of alternatives to plastic should be combined with initiatives and campaigns in order to raise awareness and create a greater consensus," she added. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
A combination photo shows the Compas Ponce family (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Arriate, southern Spain, May 29, 2018. "We separate plastics, glasses, paper, cardboard, waste oils and organic wastes," said Vicente Compas. "Our use of plastic decreases every day, we are more aware of the care of the planet, our home." REUTERS/Jon Nazca 
A combination photo shows Lauren Singer, 27, a former environmental studies major (top) and five year's worth of the non-recyclable or non-compostable plastic waste she has generated in Brooklyn, New York, U.S, May 30, 2018. Singer is the founder and owner of Package Free Shop, a business that sells products with a mission to create a positive environmental impact with little to zero plastic waste, and is also the founder and creator of the environmental educational blog Trash is for Tossers. Over five years ago, Singer, wanting to align her lifestyle with her values of environmental sustainability, embarked on a path to reduce her personal waste and as a result, all of the non-recyclable or non-compostable waste she generated over that period fitted into a 16 ounce mason jar. REUTERS/Mike Segar 
A combination photo shows Eri Sato (R) with her husband Tatsuya and three-month-old daughter Sara (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Yokohama, Japan, May 23, 2018. "I think there's no escaping plastic waste. I see it on the streets, in the mountains, underwater. It's literally everywhere," Eri said. "In our family, we try to reduce our carbon footprint wherever we can. We're very conscious of the impacts our choices can have on the environment. First, we try to reduce consumption of plastics. This mentality is applied to both daily groceries, clothing, and many other products. When we have to consume, we try to keep it minimal. Recycling is generally the last option for us, and definitely not the first," she added. "Instead of the disposable plastic bottles, we've switched to reusable bottles. We've also gone to shampoo bars instead of bottled shampoo. Our toothbrush is made from bamboo and we use reusable shopping bags whenever we can." REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon 
A combination photo shows Alexander Raduenz (2nd L) along with his partner Berit and his children Zoe and Yuna (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Berlin, Germany, May 28, 2018. "We try to lower our carbon footprint as much as possible. We are pretty much aware of the impact plastic has on our environment," said Alexander. "If alternatives to plastic are available, we are using them instead." REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke 
A combination photo shows Laura Barrado with her family (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Alpedrete, near Madrid, Spain, May 29, 2018. "We try to avoid certain purchases, mainly food, in plastic bags or plastic trays. We recycle as much as possible not only plastic but also paper or organic trash," said Laura. "We try to the best of our ability to minimise our impact on the environment to leave a better world for future generations." REUTERS/Sergio Perez 
A combination photo shows the Downie family (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Pitlochry, Scotland, Britain, May 27, 2018. "We recycle what we can, and try to minimise waste generally, including food which is composted," said Karen. "Even the plastic that is recycled will ultimately have an impact. Discarded plastic does not decompose and presents a serious and irreversible long-term threat to the health of our planet, and more immediately to animals which should enjoy pristine habitats," she added. "Alternatives do already exist in many cases, but it seems are simply not widely offered because plastic offers cheap convenience. Manufacturers, retailers and governments need to do more to drive the necessary decline in use of plastic." REUTERS/Russell Cheyne 
A combination photo shows Roshani Shrestha (2nd R), 57, her husband, Indra Lal Shrestha (2nd L), 62, elder son Ejan Shrestha (L), 29, and younger son Rojan Shrestha (R), 27 (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Kathmandu, Nepal, May 21, 2018. "I give back the plastic bags that I have to the vegetable vendors so that they can reuse them rather than using a new one," said Roshani. "We would use alternatives to plastic since it helps the environment but it is not possible since most of the products come either in plastic wrap or some other forms of plastic," she said, "We don� use single-use plastics like cups, plates, spoon or forks." REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar 
A combination photo shows Gaspar Antuna (L), Elena Vilabrille and their son Teo (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Madrid, Spain, May 30, 2018. "We try to buy less but better - as much second hand as possible, reusing, and finally recycling. Mostly plastic and paper, but also fabrics, clothes and objects in general, said Elena. "But we really miss more institutional information about it. We have to make more effort when consuming but it won't be as effective if we don't know how to do it properly." REUTERS/Paul Hanna 
A combination photo shows Audrey Gan (C), 31, her husband Leow Yee Shiang, 30, and their three-year-old son Kyler (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Singapore, May 21, 2018. "We started being more aware of the waste generated by our household when it was highlighted to us in our Buddhist teachings...that all this plastic waste is harming other beings on earth," said Audrey. "We try to curb our desire to shop for new and unnecessary items. If we are really craving for a drink of bubble tea, we bring our own containers to avoid the plastic cup and straw they come in. I use a cloth diaper for Kyler once he reaches home, but we use at least one disposable a day because we haven't figured out how to avoid leaks with cloth diapers overnight." REUTERS/Feline Lim 
A combination photo shows Brandy Wilbur (2nd L), 44, Anthony Wilbur (R), 45, with their children Sophie (L), 12, and Andrew (2nd R), aged nine (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Wenham, Massachusetts, U.S., May 27, 2018. "We try to reduce our footprint. We all use stainless steel water bottles and bring our own coffee mugs, etc. I try to avoid single use plastics such as straws, cups and bottles, but I'm not always successful," said Brandy. "When shopping, I do try to buy products with minimal packaging, but that's challenging too, everything is packaged!" she added. "I think plastics are increasing, especially the plastics that cannot be recycled like wrappers, products wrapped in plastic wrap, snack bags, etc - all for the convenience factor. We're aware and try our best to reduce our use of plastics but it's hard. REUTERS/Brian Snyder 
A combination photo shows Tatiana Schnittke, (L), 39, Yaniv Ben-Dov, 44, and their son Jonathan, 2, (top) and one week's worth of plastic waste they have collected, in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel, May 24, 2018. "I think the most important aspect in this matter is to buy the minimum amount of stuff. I try, but it's hard, because we live in a capitalist world. We buy a lot of second-hand stuff, but when you go to the mall or the supermarket, a lot of things are from plastic. Everything comes with plastic," said Yaniv. REUTERS/Corinna Kern
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Plastic is necessary for boosting the shelf life of perishable foods, without adding much to the sticker price. Getting rid of it entirely isn’t realistic. But there is a growing consensus that companies responsible for creating this packaging overuse plastics and could easily cut down on the amount sold to consumers.  

Shoppers can petition and tweet all they want about reducing packaging waste, but grocery store chains have a far bigger voice that could be put to use. And none would be louder than mega-grocers like Walmart.These massive companies have started taking small steps to address plastic use, though advocates say they could be doing more ― if they really wanted to. 

“They are the interface and broker between the makers of plastic consumer goods and the individuals buying those goods,” Nicholas Mallos, director of the Trash Free Seas Alliance at the Ocean Conservancy, told HuffPost. That role gives retailers “great power” in the fight against plastic waste, he said.

Walmart probably has the greatest influence of any grocer in the country. Around 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart, and most locations offer groceries at cut-rate prices. The company sold $184 billion worth of food in the United States last year, easily outstripping its next biggest rival, Kroger, with $121 billion in sales.

“No other corporation in history has ever amassed this degree of control over the U.S. food system,” according to a June report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance on Walmart’s dominance of local grocery businesses.

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Sustainable brands we love
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Sustainable brands we love

Naturopathica Chamomile Cleansing Milk, $34

The beloved skincare brand is nearing a quarter of a century of sustainability. Its natural and organic products are certified by Ecocert, are made without toxic ingredients and uses responsibly sourced materials. 

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Everlane Wide Leg Crop Pant, $68

Everlane partners with the best and most ethical factories around the world in order to source the finest materials. 

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Rothy's The Point, $145

Made from recycled water bottles that are transformed into yarn, the San Francisco-based shoe brand has quickly risen to one of the country's most beloved sustainable fashion companies -- and Meghan's Markle's Rothy's debut during her royal tour of Australia in the fall of 2018 only contributed to its popularity. 

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DL1961

Since launching in 2008, DL1961 has made it a point to do better for the earth and as a company. The brand uses about 8 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans vs. the traditional 1500, of which most are disposed. We treat and recycle 98% of the water we in our process. In 2018 DL1961 saved enough water to fill 400 million, 16OZ bottles of water.

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H&M Conscious Halterneck Swimsuit, $49.99

The H&M Conscious collection uses only sustainably sourced materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester, wool, hemp, and Tencel. 

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Avalon Organics Vitamin C Hydrating Cleansing Milk, $10.99

The Avalon Organics Formula is certified by the Environmental Working Group for its transparency and dedication to sustainability and the environment. 

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Eileen Fisher Lightweight Viscose Jersey Jumpsuit, $169

Because of the brand's Vision2020 campaign, 69 percent of the line is made with sustainable materials, 98 percent of the cotton is organic and 1.2 million pieces of Eileen Fisher clothes have been recycled through the Renew Initiative. 

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ABSOLUT ABSOLUT America, $25

The vodka company is dedicated to sustainability by using the most efficient farming processes in its farms based in Southern Sweeden and recycling almost everything during distillation.

“WithPlanet Earth’s Favorite Vodka, we hope to breathe new life into sustainability – inspiring others to do what’s right for the environment, and one another, while always remembering to celebrate progress," said brand director Regan Clarke. 

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Alternative Apparel Ideal Printed Eco-Jersey T-Shirt, $36

The brand sources the finest fabrics and incorporates organic and recycled materials as much as they can, with low-impact dyes and water-conserving efforts. Even their mailing boxes are oxo-biodegradable.

Blume Blemish Treatment, $26

All of the self-care company's products are 100 percent chemical free, with no harmful ingredients, are biodegradable and BPA free. 

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Madewell x charity: water Heart Recycling Sweatshirt

50 percent of the retail price from the purchase of these exclusive Madewell items will support charity: water and its mission of providing clean, safe drinking water to the 663 million people who don’t have access to it (that’s one in 10 humans across the globe).

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Athleta Contender Sprint Bra, $59

The athleisure brand has ensured that 60 percent of its materials are made from sustainable materials including recycled nylon and H2Eco Swim fabric, which has helped to divert 72,264 kilograms of waste from landfills. By 2020, they hope that 80 percent of store waste from shipping packaging will be diverted from landfills. 

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The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash, $14

The popular skincare brand has been dedicated to corporate responsibility since 1976 and plans to double its green efforts by 2020. Its products are made with ethically sourced ingredients and are committed to fighting threated areas from devastation. 

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b-Glowing Illuminate + Shine Eyeshadow Palette, $38

The clean and all natural beauty brand is free of formaldehyde, coal tar, propylene glycol and other harmful parabens and sulfates. 

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DSTLD Womens Boyfriend Jeans In Sun, $85

The denim company sources materials from socially responsible suppliers with a majority of its products made from eco-friendly and sustainable materials, including natural dyes.

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EOS Organic Lip Balm, $4.49

The certified organic and 100 percent natural lip balm are created with high-quality sustainably sourced ingredients, including natural oils. EOS is a member of the Global Shea Alliance, which promotes sustainability, and a partner of TerraCycle. 

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Bleusalt The Boyfriend Hoodie, $75.60

The Malibu-based brand is dedicated to environmental responsibility and therefore not only incorporates green materials into their products but gives a percentage back to the Sculpts the Future Foundation to promote positive environmental change. 

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Levi Strauss & Co.

Levi’s partnered with Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ denim recycling program that offers consumers the ability to recycle used denim, extending its lifespan, helping preserve the environment, and ultimately helping keep schools and homes warm.  As long as it’s dry and clean, consumers can bring in denim jeans, tops, or jackets – from any brand, in any condition, in any color – to Levi’s stores in the United States and Canada and drop them into a dedicated bin. They’ll get a 20% discount off their purchase and the knowledge that they’ve kept it out of landfill, while Cotton Inc.’s Blue Jeans Go Green program™ gets denim it can help transform into insulation for schools, libraries or low-income housing built by Habitat for Humanity.

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Keller Works Elliot's Oatmeal Soap

With zero packaging (so no waste), the oats are certified organic, gluten free, and it’s made with organic oils and sustainable palm oil. None of their soaps use packaging! Oatmeal is soothing for the skin, and how the Keller Works story started.

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Havaianas

Havaianas partnered with graffiti artist Arlin Graff to create two unique sandals. 7% of total sales of Graff’s custom sandals will go to the Institute of Ecological Research (IPE), working towards biodiversity conservation in the Brazilian rainforest through research, training and environmental education. 

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Trunk Club

Trunk Club is highlighting brands committed to reducing their carbon footprints and empowering more sustainable lifestyles including Zella, Toms, Reformation, Eileen Fisher, Patagonia and more.

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Nuria

Nuria leverages modern science to harness the power of natural ingredients to create clean, vegan formulas. All Nuria ingredients are grown in environments that maximize plant health and nutrient robustness. Along with our commitment to honor and respect our environment, Nuria supports girls education around the world via She’s The First.

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Brandless

Lifestyle brand Brandless offers a variety of products at fair, simple prices that make a positive impact on the environment through minimizing the waste of everyday activities. The trendy reusable tote is your perfect farmer’s market carryall. Holds about a dozen apples & whatever else is on your list. Easy to stash & wash.

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Little Sun Exclusive on eBay

eBay and social business Little Sun are announcing a new partnership to bring accessible, ethical and sustainable solar solutions to communities around the world. This April, Little Sun is launching its eBay storefront (eBay.com/LittleSun) and offering shoppers a limited-edition “Earth Day Duo” bundle through May 1.

Designed by world-renowned artist Olafur Eliasson, the special solar bundle includes the iconic Little Sun and Little Sun Diamond solar-powered lamps, for the exclusive price of $42. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit the Little Sun Foundation.

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Burt's Bees Baby

Burt's Bees Baby uses 100% organic cotton which does not use the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers needed to grow conventional cotton, which means those harmful chemicals don’t seep into our soil, water, and food. It promotes safer conditions on the small farms where our growers and their families live and work.

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Walmart is also the world’s largest retailer overall, with hundreds of billions of dollars in annual purchasing power.

“Walmart has the ability to influence the supply chain, not just for its own brand products but with large consumer goods companies,” David Pinsky, a researcher at Greenpeace, told HuffPost. 

By and large, he said, major retailers haven’t done much with their considerable influence to crack down on plastic. Though most of these large retailers ― including Walmart ― have made some kind of public commitment to reduce packaging waste, their pledges fall far short of what’s needed to stem the tide of plastics that end up in landfills or incinerators, escape into the environment and contribute to climate change

Walmart did not respond to HuffPost’s repeated requests for comment. However, the company has made previous public statements about its attempts to limit plastic waste — like recycling, for example. Walmart, along with several other retailers, participates in the How2Recycle labeling program, which helps people navigate America’s confusing recycling requirements by printing simple instructions right on product packages that explain how to properly dispose of them. 

But helping people become better recyclers doesn’t fix a major problem with recycling facilities themselves: Most of them can’t process the packaging we try to recycle, so they have to send it to a landfill. In addition, recyclables in the United States are often shipped to developing nations, where they might end up being dumped or burned illegally.

“No amount of labeling will solve broken recycling systems,” Pinsky and co-author James Mitchell wrote in a June report by Greenpeace assessing U.S. retailers’ efforts to address plastic pollution.

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Drone photos of glacier show impact of climate change
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Drone photos of glacier show impact of climate change
An iceberg floats in a fjord near the town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 24, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Principal Investigator Josh Willis looks out at the Greenland ice sheet from inside of a NASA Gulfstream III flying above Greenland to measure loss to the country's ice sheet as part of the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) research mission, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Glacial flow is seen out the window of a NASA Gulfstream III flight to support the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) research mission above the east coast of Greenland, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Safety officer Brian Rougeux works with student Febin Magar to assemble a radar dome while working in a science camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Meltwater pools are seen on top of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Radar Engineer, Ron Muellerschoen, monitors data collection inside a NASA Gulfstream III flying above Greenland to measure loss to the country's ice sheet as part of the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) research mission, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A glacial terminus is seen from the window during a NASA flight to support the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) research mission above the east coast of Greenland, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
Student Febin Magar watches as leftover wood burns in a research camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Safety officer Brian Rougeux uses a drill to install antennas for scientific instruments that will be left on top of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Oceanographer David Holland works with student Febin Magar to inspect a seismograph in their science camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Tabular icebergs float in the Sermilik Fjord after a large calving event at the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 23, 2018. This portion between the glacier front and the open ocean is known as the "melange" and is filled with ice, snow and icebergs packed together on their way to a fjord and later the ocean. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An iceberg floats in a fjord near the town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Meltwater pools are seen on top of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Oceanographer David Holland (C) eats with Denise Holland (L), safety officer Brian Rougeux and student Febin Magar (R) in their science camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Safety officer Brian Rougeux carries a piece of a radar dome while working in a science camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Oceanographer David Holland repairs a broken GPS module at his research camp above the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Glacial ice is seen from the window during a NASA flight to support the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) research mission above the east coast of Greenland, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Sunshine lights up the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An aerial photograph of Oceanographer David Holland's science camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Airplane Mechanic, David Fuller (L), works with a local worker to move a NASA Gulfstream III during a pre-flight inspection before a flight to support the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) research mission, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Airplane Mechanic, David Fuller, inspects a NASA Gulfstream III during a pre-flight inspection before a flight to support the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) research mission, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Radar Engineer Ron Muellerschoen (L), Radar Engineer Tim Miller (C) and Pilot in Command Tom Parent discuss issues with an autopilot system while flying inside a NASA Gulfstream III above Greenland to measure loss to the country's ice sheet as part of the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) research mission, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An iceberg floats in a fjord near the town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 24, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An iceberg floats in a fjord near the town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 24, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An iceberg floats in a fjord near the town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 24, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An iceberg floats in a fjord near the town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 24, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pilot in Command Tom Parent inspects the exterior of a NASA Gulfstream III during a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft before a flight to support the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) research mission, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Student Febin Magar watches as safety officer Brian Rougeux burns leftover wood while working in a science camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Safety officer Brian Rougeux unfastens equipment to inspect it while working in a science camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Safety officer Brian Rougeux works to build a semi-permanent structure in a science camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A large crevasse forms near the calving front of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Denise Holland prepares a meal at a science camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Safety officer Brian Rougeux works to build a semi-permanent structure in a science camp on the side of the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Tabular icebergs float in the Sermilik Fjord after a large calving event at the Helheim glacier near Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 23, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson SEARCH "JACKSON GREENLAND" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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On the other hand, major retailers could achieve much more by forcing suppliers to use a minimum amount of post-consumer recycled content in their packaging, Mallos said. While that’s still a recycling-focused strategy, it creates demand for existing recyclable plastic that has nowhere to go. It also supports the construction of better recycling infrastructure. A handful of major producers, including Unilever North America, are already moving aggressively in this direction. Walmart has made a more modest commitment: By 2025, the retail chain wants its proprietary brands to come packaged in 20% post-consumer recycled materials. (This figure is “painfully inadequate,” Pinsky wrote in the Greenpeace report.)

Walmart has not even pledged to stop handing out plastic shopping bags, one of the easiest nonessential plastics to cut. Top retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have already nixed plastic shopping bags from their stores. Last year, Kroger announced that it would follow suit by 2025. In comparison, Walmart said it will train employees to use fewer plastic bags at checkout.

Although Walmart said it also wants to promote more environmentally friendly packaging, existing efforts at other grocers are controversial. Whole Foods, for example, offers compostable containers in its prepared foods departments, but this doesn’t make much of a difference if there aren’t local industrial composting facilities available, Mallos said.

Walmart and a number of other major companies have also signed on to join multiple efforts that bring together business leaders, government officials, environmental activists and scientists to study plastic pollution and search for solutions. But Walmart is also a member of the Plastics Industry Association, a lobbying group that has spent millions fighting plastic bag bans, according to The Intercept.

While many of the country’s biggest grocers dither, smaller stores are actually getting their suppliers to cut out more plastic. So-called “zero waste” shops are popping up all around the world, eschewing plastic packaging and encouraging the use of reusable containers.

47 PHOTOS
NASA images of change on earth from space
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NASA images of change on earth from space

Lava eruption, Iceland
September 6, 2014 to January 3, 2015

Since August 2014, lava has gushed from fissures just north of Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier. As of January 6, 2015, the Holuhraun lava field had spread across more than 84 square kilometers (32 square miles), making it larger than the island of Manhattan. Its thickness is estimated to range from about 10 to 14 meters (33 to 46 feet). The eruption shows signs of slowing down but could continue for years.

Images taken by the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Shrinking ice cap, Iceland
September 16, 1986 to September 20, 2014

More than half of Iceland's numerous ice caps and glaciers lie near or directly over volcanoes. Seen here is Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland's fourth largest ice cap, which covers the Katla volcano at the country's southern tip. In the 2014 image, the depressions at the southwest-central part of Mýrdalsjökull are ice cauldrons caused by geothermal heat from below. Along the northern part of the ice cap, ablation has exposed brown bands of ash from past eruptions. But not all of the changes are associated with volcanic activity. Most of the monitored glaciers have been shrinking since the 1990s, including Sólheimajökull (lower left), which has been retreating as much as 50 meters (164 feet) per year. A parking lot near this glacier is moved almost annually to accommodate tourists.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper onboard Landsat 5 and the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source: NASA Earth Observatory, using data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Shrinking glacier, Alaska
July 28, 1986 to July 2, 2014

Alaska's Columbia Glacier descends through the Chugach Mountains into Prince William Sound. When British explorers surveyed the glacier in 1794, its nose extended to the northern edge of Heather Island, near the mouth of Columbia Bay. The glacier held that position until 1980, when it began a rapid retreat. The glacier has thinned so much that the up and down motion of the tides affects its flow as much as 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) upstream, until the glacier bed rises above sea level and the ice loses contact with the ocean.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper onboard Landsat 5 and the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source: NASA Earth Observatory, using data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

River delta changes, China
May 1, 1985 to May 1, 2014

China's Huang He (Yellow) River is the most sediment-filled river on Earth. Each year, it transports millions of tons of soil from a plateau it crosses to a delta it has built in the Bohai Sea. These images show the delta's growth from 1985 to 2014. The latter image also shows another change: ponds that hold shrimp and other seafood (seen here as dark geometric shapes along the coastline) were built on what were once tidal flats.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper onboard Landsat 5 and the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery "Huang He Delta and Lauzhou Bay," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Shrinking lake, central Asia
August 25, 2000 to August 19, 2014

The Aral Sea was the fourth largest lake in the world until the 1960s, when the Soviet Union diverted water from the rivers that fed the lake so cotton and other crops could be grown in the arid plains of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The black outline shows the approximate coastline of the lake in 1960. By the time of the 2000 image, the Northern Aral Sea had separated from the Southern Aral Sea, which itself had split into eastern and western lobes. A dam built in 2005 helped the northern sea recover much of its water level at the expense of the southern sea. Dry conditions in 2014 caused the southern sea’s eastern lobe to dry up completely for the first time in modern times. The loss of the moderating influence of such a large body of water has made the region’s winters colder and summers hotter and drier. See also this image.

Images taken by the Moderate Resolution imagine Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite. Source: NASA’s Earth Observatory

Air pollution reduction, northeastern United States
2005 to 2011

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a yellow-brown gas that can cause respiratory problems, contribute to the formation of other pollutants, and serve as a proxy for air pollution in general. It is produced primarily during the combustion of gasoline in vehicle engines and coal in power plants. Thanks to regulations, technology improvements and economic changes, air pollution — including NO2 — has decreased despite an increase in population and number of cars on the roads. These images represent the improvement seen in the northeast corridor of the U.S., from Boston to Richmond, where some of the largest absolute changes in NO2 have occurred.

Source: NASA News Release. Data source: NASA's Aura satellite. Image credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio/T. Schindler

Drought, Arizona and Utah
March 25, 1999 to May 13, 2014

Prolonged drought coupled with water withdrawals have caused a dramatic drop in Lake Powell's water level. These images show the northern part of the lake, which is actually a deep, narrow, meandering reservoir that extends from Arizona upstream into southern Utah. The 1999 image shows water levels near full capacity. By May 2014, the lake had dropped to 42 percent of capacity.

Images taken by the Landsat series of satellites. Source: NASA's Earth Observatory

Drought, California
2011, 2013, and 2014

California is undergoing its most severe drought in decades, due in part to decreased rainfall and reduced winter snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range as seen in these images. In 2013, California received less precipitation than in any other year since it became a state in 1850. Water conservation efforts are already in place for many locations and the potential for wildfire and major agricultural impact is high.

Images taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus onboard Landsat 7 and the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source:U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery "Drought Conditions in California, USA," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Urban growth, South Korea
September 5, 1981 to September 16, 2013

The shoreline area of Incheon, South Korea, has changed dramatically over the past 32 years. Marsh areas have been turned into usable land and urban development has expanded. Islands have been connected to accommodate Incheon International Airport, which opened in 2001 and is now one of the largest and busiest in the world. The new Incheon Bridge (also called the Incheon Grand Bridge), which opened in October 2009, is visible in the 2013 image.

Images taken by the Multispectral Scanner onboard Landsat 2 and the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery "32 Years of Change: Incheon, South Korea," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Flood, Cambodia
May 17, 2013 to October 24, 2013

In October 2013, Typhoon Nari followed heavy seasonal rains to create substantial flooding along the Mekong and Tonlé Sap Rivers in Cambodia. The flood affected more than a half million people, and more than 300,000 hectares (about three-quarters of a million acres) of rice fields are believed to have been destroyed. The capital city of Phnom Penh is just south of the image center.

Images taken by the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery"Flooding in Cambodia," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Dam impact, Pakistan
August 2, 1999 to June 8, 2011

The Mirani Dam on the Dasht River in southern Pakistan was completed in 2006. The resulting reservoir provides water for drinking, irrigation and hydroelectric power. Though the dam also helps to control flooding, heavy rains in 2007 increased the reservoir depth from 244 to 271 feet (74 to 82 meters) with attendant flooding that displaced more than 15,000 people. The left-hand image shows the region before the dam was built. The right-hand image shows the dam in 2011 with the expanded agriculture that the dam’s water supports.

Images taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus onboard Landsat 7 and the Thematic Mapper onboard Landsat 5. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery "Mirani Dam," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Typhoon, Philippines
June 28, 2013 to November 11, 2013

Among the destruction that Typhoon Haiyan inflicted was flooding caused by massive swelling of the Agno River, the fifth largest river system in the Philippines, on the island of Luzon. More than 2 million people live in the Agno River Valley.

Images taken by the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8 and the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus onboard Landsat 7. Source:U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery "Agno River Valley flooding, Philippines (Typhoon Haiyan)," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Lake change, New Mexico
June 2, 1994 to July 8, 2013

Elephant Butte Reservoir dwindled to its lowest level in 41 years during the summer of 2013, despite monsoon rains in early July. It had been filled nearly to capacity for most of 1985 to 2000; the left-hand image from 1994 shows it about 89 percent full. At right, it has been reduced to about 3 percent. Elephant Butte is fed by the Rio Grande and is New Mexico's largest reservoir. It provides water for about 90,000 acres (364 square kilometers) of farmland and nearly half the population of El Paso, Texas. Spring runoff from mountain snowpack was well below average in spring, 2013, and anemic rains throughout the beginning of the year left 80 percent of New Mexico grappling with either "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, the two most severe categories.

Images taken by the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Fire, Colorado
April 27, 2013 to June 22, 2013

The Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs, Colorado, was the most destructive wildfire in the state's history, having burned over 14,000 acres and more than 500 homes. It was responsible for the deaths of two people and forced thousands more to leave their homes. The fire started June 11, 2013, and was considered fully contained on June 20, 2013. It began along the north side of Shoup Road, which forms the southern boundary of the burned area seen in the June 22 image. The northern portion of Colorado Springs is visible at the lower left.

Images taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7 and the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery "Black Forest Fire," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Lake shrinkage, Iraq
1995, 2003, and 2013

Bahr al Milh (also called Lake Razazah) is a salt sea in Iraq, fed by the Euphrates River via canal. Water levels of this shallow lake vary with the seasons, but levels have been drastically low year-round in the past decade.

Images taken by Landsat 5, the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus instrument onboard Landsat 7, and the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery "Bahr al Milh," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

River evolution, Louisiana
1973, 1989, and 2003

These pictures show three decades of change in the birdsfoot delta where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. The Mississippi-Missouri River system collects eroded debris from the entire central half of the United States. Upon reaching the Gulf, the river's velocity slows abruptly, reducing its ability to carry suspended mud and sand, which is then deposited in an alluvial fan pattern. The delta has changed form many times over the past 10,000 years and has varied in location along a 200-mile (322-kilometer) stretch of coastline. The birdsfoot delta has occupied its current location for only about 600 years.

1973 image taken by the Multispectral Scanner sensor onboard Landsat 1. 1989 image taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. 2003 image taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, “Mississippi Delta, USA,” U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.

Lake shrinkage, Argentina
July 10, 1998 to September 27, 2011

Mar Chiquita, the largest of the naturally-occurring saline lakes in Argentina, has been shrinking and getting saltier. Its water comes primarily from the Dulce River, and increasing use of the river’s water for irrigation, coupled with long periods of drought, have diminished the lake’s water level and increased its salinity. Environmental studies continue to measure the regional impact of the changes in lake size and quality.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Mar Chiquita change over time," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Lake growth, China
1992, 2003, and 2012

Lake Ayakkum, which is near the northern boundary of the Tibetan Plateau in central China, has been growing. This stands in contrast to many closed-basin saline lakes in Central Asia, which have been shrinking because of the construction of dams and aqueducts as well as human expansion into previously uninhabitable desert areas. Small streams fed by glaciers and snowmelt are increasing their flow to the lake. The development of a delta can be seen in the lower right portion.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5 and the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus onboard Landsat 7. Source:U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Lake Ayakkum," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

River flow, Russia
May 1, 2007 to May 17, 2007

From the time they thaw in early May, the Ob River and its tributary, the Irtysh, flow from the Altay Mountains of northern China to the Arctic Ocean. The northern reaches of the Ob flow over a flat permafrost plain past the cities of Ozernyy and Nefteyvgansk in northern Russia. Because the river cannot cut deep channels into the frozen land, it spreads out over the surrounding plain during the spring melt, as shown in the image on the right.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Ob River Flooding in Northern Russia," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Bear Glacier melt, Alaska
1980, 1989, 2011

This series of images shows the shrinkage of Bear Glacier from 1980 to 2011. Warming in the region has caused less buildup of snow and therefore less material for glacial growth. As the glacier has receded, ice at the end of the glacier has broken off the main body, forming icebergs in the open water. The 2011 image shows considerable retreat of the glacier's "tongue." Also see this image pair of the same glacier.

Left image taken by the Multispectral Scanner onboard Landsat 3. Center image taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 4. Right image taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Bear Glacier, Alaska," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Drought, Kansas
2010, 2011, 2012

The Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Wetlands area in central Kansas, the largest interior marsh in the United States, was dramatically impacted by the drought besetting large areas of the western U.S. in 2012. There was sufficient water in the wetland area as recently as 2010, but the levels began to diminish in 2011. By mid-July, 2012, virtually all the water had evaporated. The area has provided a resting place for millions of migrating birds every fall, and wildlife officials are using satellite images like these to help them determine what actions to take to sustain a habitat for the nesting waterfowl.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5 and by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus onboard Landsat 7. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Effects of Drought," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Urban growth, Philippines
January 25, 2989 to April 14, 2012

The Philippine capital of Manila is the most densely populated city in the world, with more than 1.6 million inhabitants in 14.8 square miles (38.5 square kilometers). The greater metro area covers 246 square miles (638 square kilometers) and hosts a population of over 11 million. These satellite images illustrate how much the city has expanded in little more than two decades, bringing significant infrastructure and environmental problems. The Pasig River, which cuts through the urban area, is one of the most polluted rivers in the world.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 4 and the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Manila, Philippines," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Glacier calving, Greenland
July 16 and 17, 2012

The Petermann Glacier grinds and slides toward the sea along the northwestern coast of Greenland, ending in a giant floating tongue of ice. An iceberg about twice the size of Manhattan broke free of that tongue in July, 2012. Two years prior, Petermann calved an iceberg twice as big as this one. A glacier is essentially a slow-moving river of ice. When a glacier protrudes into the ocean, as the Petermann Glacier does, ice occasionally breaks off the end, creating new icebergs. The frequency depends on how fast the glacier grows because of new snow, how quickly it flows into the ocean, and how fast it melts. Petermann Glacier's floating ice tongue is the largest in the Northern Hemisphere.

Images taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument onboard NASA's Aqua satellite. Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Land change, Florida
May 14, 1984 to May 25, 2011

As the U.S. population has aged, more older people have been moving from northern states to southern communities. Sumpter County in central Florida grew 75 percent since 2000, largely due to expansion of The Villages, a master-planned retirement community with a strong emphasis on golf. Started as a mobile home park in the early 1980s, The Villages was the fastest growing micro-population area in the United States by 2008. These images illustrate the changes that have accompanied this growth. Agricultural land has turned into more than 40 golf courses, and small bodies of water (shown as black) have been converted to water hazards. Lakes have been drained to provide irrigation and residential communities (very light tones) have popped up around the golf courses.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "The Villages, Florida," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Urban growth, China
July 30, 1992 to April 8, 2012

The Binhai New Area — once home to salt farms, reed marshes and wasteland — has grown into one of China's key economic hubs. Since development began in the 1990s, it has become the home of numerous aerospace, oil, chemical and other manufacturing industries. Plans for coming years include an international airport. The changes over 20 years can be seen in these images acquired in 1992 and 2012. The Binhai New Area is located on the coast of the Bohai Sea Region southeast of China's capital city, Beijing.

1992 image taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. 2012 image taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Binhai New Area, China," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS.

Pine Island Glacier calving, Antarctica
January 25, 2011 to January 28, 2012

Left: January 25, 2011. Right: January 28, 2012. Pine Island is one of the largest and fastest-moving glaciers in Antarctica. The Pine Island Glacier Basin contributes more ice to the sea than any other ice-drainage basin in the world, and this has increased due to recent acceleration of the ice stream caused by thinning of the glacier. Scientists are concerned about the impact Pine Island's continued thinning will have on sea level. The 2011 image shows a series of splits along the western edge of the glacier. The same area in 2012 reveals a major break that will eventually extend all the way across the glacier and calve a giant iceberg expected to cover about 350 square miles (900 square kilometers).

Images taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Pine Island Glacier," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS.

Fire, Idaho
July 24, 2010 to August 25, 2010

Left: July 24, 2010. Right: August 25, 2010. A series of wildfires, triggered by lightning strikes during the weekend of August 21 and 22, 2010, burned more than 300,000 acres of sage and grasses in the south-central region of Idaho. On August 23, the fire burned over 200,000 acres in a single day. Smoke from the fires dramatically impacted air quality in a number of local communities. The July 24 image shows burn marks from earlier, smaller fires, while the August 25 image shows the dark brown tone of the large fire scar. Fire and regional vegetation-management teams used the imagery to track the fire and to plan rehabilitation of the affected areas.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, "Long Butte, Idaho Fire," U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.

Fire, Georgia, United States
April 30, 2011 to July 3, 2011

Lightning sparked wildfires near the Okefenokee National Wildlife refuge in the Honey Prairie region of Georgia, US, on April 30, 2011, after the left-hand image was taken. Dry conditions helped fuel the fires and continued lightning strikes started new ones. By July 7, over 290,000 acres had burned. The red tones of the July 3 image represent recovering vegetation in previously burned areas. Light tones are the smoke of active fires.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor aboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, "Honey Prairie Fires," U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.

Water diversion, Dead Sea
November 9, 1984 to November 28, 2011

The Dead Sea lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, bordering Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. It is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, too salty to harbor any life other than bacteria. Minerals from the sea, however, are extracted for various industrial purposes. Mineral evaporation ponds have replaced open water in the southern part of the sea, as can be seen in the 2011 image. In recent decades, the Dead Sea has shrunk as water has been diverted from the Jordan River, the sea's main tributary. A plan has been announced to replenish the Dead Sea by building a canal from the Red Sea, providing fresh (desalinated) water to Jordan en route.

1984 image taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. 2011 image taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, "The Dead Sea," U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.

Lake shrinkage, Utah
August 1985 to September 2010

Dramatic change in the area of the Great Salt Lake over the past 25 years. Left: August 1985. Right: September 2010. The lake was filled to near capacity in 1985 because feeder streams were charged with snowmelt and heavy rainfall. In contrast, the 2010 image shows the lake shriveled by drought. The Promontory Peninsula (protruding into the lake from the top) is surrounded by water on three sides in the first image, but is landlocked on its eastern side in the second. Similarly, Antelope Island was encircled by water in 1985, but was connected to marshy areas in 2010. Mosaics of four satellite images were used to illustrate the changes over the full lake area.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor aboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, "Great Salt Lake—1985-2010," U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.

Coastal change, Mexico
August 7, 1993 to July 8, 2011

These images show changes to the western coastline of Sonora, Mexico due to the construction of shrimp farms over the past two decades. While the shrimp industry has generated profits and jobs, there have been concerns about its effect on the ecosystems of the region, and disputes have arisen about property rights to the communal coastal lands.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, "Aquaculture Changes Mexican Shoreline," U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.

Lake shrinkage, central Asia
1977, 1989, 2006, 2009

The Aral Sea, located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in central Asia. Left: June 4, 1977. Center left: September 17, 1989. Center right: May 27, 2006. Right: June 3, 2009. Once one of the largest inland bodies of salty water in the world and the second largest sea in Asia — 70,000 square kilometers or 27,000 square miles in area — the Aral Sea has shrunk dramatically over the last 30 years. One of the main reasons is crop irrigation: water has been drawn off from the rivers that kept the Aral Sea filled. As the sea has shrunk, the local climate has become harsher, there have been contaminated dust storms, and drinking water and the local fishing industry have been lost. By the late 2000s, the Aral Sea had lost four fifths of its water volume.

Images taken by the Multispectral Scanner onboard Landsat 1, the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5, and the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus onboard Landsat 7. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, "The Vanishing Aral Sea," U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey and Encyclopaedia Britannica Online.

New island appears, Red Sea
October 2007 to December 2011

A volcano erupted in the Red Sea in December 2011, apparently creating a new island. According to news reports, fishermen witnessed lava fountains reaching up to 30 meters (nearly 100 feet) high on December 19. By December 23, what looked like a new island had appeared. A thick plume can be seen in the 2011 image, dark near the bottom and light near the top, perhaps a mixture of volcanic ash and water vapor. The activity occurred along the Zubair Group, a collection of small islands off the west coast of Yemen. Running in a roughly northwest-southeast line, the islands poke above the sea surface, rising from a shield volcano. This region is part of the Red Sea Rift, where the African and Arabian tectonic plates pull apart and new ocean crust regularly forms.

Images taken by the Advanced Land Imager onboard NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite. Source: NASA Earth Observatory.

Lake degradation, California
September 1985 to September 2010

Owens Lake lies in the Owens Valley between the Sierra Nevada and Inyo Mountains, about 130 miles north of Los Angeles, California. For thousands of years, it was one of the most important stopover sites in the western U.S. for migrating waterfowl and shore birds. However, in the early 20th century, the lower Owens River, which fed the lake, was largely diverted to the Los Angeles aqueduct. Water from springs and artesian wells kept some of the lake alive, but toxic chemicals and dust impinged on the regional environment and disturbed the bird habitat. Beginning in 1999, a plan was put in place to restore the lake region and alleviate the dust build-up, using ponds, native grasses, gravel deposits and limited shallow flooding.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, "Owens Lake restoration," U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.

Lake shrinkage, Texas

Left: June 18, 1990. Right: June 12, 2011. Lake Meredith is a reservoir formed by the Sanford Dam on the Canadian River in the Texas panhandle. Continuous drought has diminished water levels significantly in the past few years, leading to a record low in 2011. In each image, the lake is the black feature near the center. Light tones at the lower end of the lake indicate dry land and former shores. Bright green indicates healthy vegetation along the river beds and irrigated fields in the upper center of each image. The nearby industrial area (a petroleum plant and a carbon-processing plant) appears as a dark spot. The light blue tone further east is Borger, Texas.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor aboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, "Shrinking Lake Meredith, Texas," U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.

Fire, New Mexico
June 24, 2011 to July 2, 2011

Las Conchas, New Mexico. Left: June 24, 2011. Right: July 2, 2011. A major fire ripped through New Mexico, destroying sites considered sacred by American Indian tribes and threatening the Los Alamos National Nuclear Laboratory. The blaze, thought to have been started by a downed power line, burned more than 125,000 acres of the Santa Fe National Forest. In the July 2 image, burned areas are reddish brown and bright tones at the edge of the forest indicate active fires.

June image taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor aboard Landsat 5. July image taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor aboard Landsat 7. Main source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.

Lake shrinkage, Africa
1972, 1987, 2002

Lake Chad, Africa. Left: December 8, 1972. Middle: December 14, 1987. Right: December 18, 2002. Persistent drought has shrunk Lake Chad, once the world's sixth largest lake, to about one-twentieth of the size it was in the 1960s. Only 16 to 26 feet (5 to 8 meters) deep in "normal" times, small changes in depth have resulted in large changes in area. As the lake has receded, large wetland areas (shown in red) have replaced open water.

1972 image from Landsat 1. 1987 image from Landsat 4. 2002 image from Landsat 7. Courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey. Taken from the USGS Landsat Missions Gallery.

Water changes, Caspian Sea
1972, 1987, 2010

The Kara-Bogaz-Gol basin on the eastern edge of the Caspian Sea. Left: December 4, 1972. Middle: September 25, 1987. Right: October 10, 2010. The basin's water level has periodically undergone dramatic changes, and damming of its feeder inlets increased the magnitude of those changes. In 1980, a severe drop left a "salt bowl," with windborne salt reportedly poisoning soil and causing health problems hundreds of kilometers to the east. In 1984, the basin dried up completely. In 1992, after the barrier was breached, sea level rose, remaining fairly stable from 2000 to 2010.

1972 image taken by the Multispectral Scanner aboard Landsat 1. 1987 and 2010 images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor aboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.

Deforestation, Bolivia
1989 to 2001

Near Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Left: August 4, 1986. Right: August 11, 2001. Most of the tropical dry forest visible in the 1986 image (dark red) has been replaced in the 2001 image by resettlement of people from the Altiplano (the Andean high plains) and by soybean production. The radial patterns are part of the San Javier resettlement plan. At the center of each unit is a small community that includes a church, bar/cafe, school and soccer field. The rectangular, light-colored areas are fields of soybeans cultivated for export. The dark strips running through the fields are windbreaks to protect the soil, which is prone to wind erosion

1986 image taken by Landsat. 2001 image taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER). Reproduced from JPL's ASTER website. Courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

River changes, China
2001 to 2009

The Yellow River Delta in China. Left: 2001. Right: 2009. The Yellow River is the second-longest river in China, and the sixth-longest in the world. It has been the cradle of Chinese civilization; but frequent devastating floods have also earned it the name of "China's Sorrow." Historical maps tell us that the river has undergone many dramatic changes in its course. Currently, the Yellow River ends in the Bohai Sea, yet its eastern terminus continues to oscillate from points north and south of the Shandong Peninsula. These images show the changes.

Images taken by NASA's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument. Caption adapted from the ASTER gallery. Courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

Urban growth, Saudi Arabia
1972 to 2000

The Saudi Arabian capital. Left: 1972. Middle: 1990. Right: 2000. During this time, its population soared from about half a million to more than two million. In the early 1970s, three times as many Saudi Arabians lived in rural areas as in cities. By 1990, the ratio had reversed — cities held three times as many as the rural regions.

Images taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument. Courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

Flood, Pakistan
2009 to 2010

Southern Pakistan. Left: August 8, 2009. Right: August 11, 2010. Twenty percent of the country is currently underwater as a result of floods caused by heavy monsoon rains that began in late July 2010. According to reports, six million Pakistanis are now homeless and around 17 million people have been affected in some way.

This false-color image pair of the affected region was acquired by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument onboard NASA's Terra spacecraft. The Indus River can be seen snaking across the image from lower left to upper right. In the image from 2009, the Indus is about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) wide. In the 2010 image, the river is 23 kilometers (14 miles) wide or more in parts.

Images taken by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer onboard NASA's Terra spacecraft. Credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team. Caption adapted from JPL's Photojournal.

Ice melt, Tanzania
February 1993 to February 2000

Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. Left: February 17, 1993. Right: February 21, 2000. Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world and is made up of three volcanic cones. These before and after images show the dramatic decline in Kilimanjaro's icecap over recent decades.

Images taken by the NASA/USGS Landsat satellite. Credit: Jim Williams, NASA GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio, and the Landsat 7 Science Team.

Lake degradation, Tunisia
2001 to 2005

Ichkeul Lake, northern Tunisia. Left: November 14, 2001. Right: July 29, 2005; the water level is higher, but a large part of the lake appears red due to the presence of aquatic plants. Ichkeul Lake and wetlands are a major stopover point for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds who come to feed and nest. It is the last remaining lake in a chain that once extended across North Africa, and has badly deteriorated as a result of the construction of three dams on rivers supplying it and its marshes, which have cut off almost all inflow of freshwater. The Tunisian government plans to undertake various measures to retain freshwater in the lake on a year-round basis and reduce the salinity of the lake.

Images taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) onboard NASA's Terra satellite. Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Source: the ASTER gallery.

Tsunami / Earthquake, Sumatra
May 2004 to December 2004

The city of Banda Aceh, on the island of Sumatra, before and after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami. Top: May 14, 2004. Bottom: December 29, 2004, days after the massive wave struck the coastline.

Images taken by the Landsat-7 satellite. Source: NASA/USGS.

Dust storm, China
March 2002 to April 2002

Dust obscuring most of the Liaoning region of China and parts of northern and western Korea.

Left: March 23, 2002, a relatively clear day. Right: April 8, 2002, a day of extremely dusty skies. Storms transport mineral dust from the deserts of China and Mongolia over great distances, as well as pollution from agriculture, industry and power generation. Asian dust has been detected as far away as Colorado. Thick clouds of dust block substantial amounts of incoming sunlight, which in turn can influence marine phytoplankton production and have a cooling effect on regional climates.

Images taken by NASA's Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR). Credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team.

Urban growth, Nevada
1984 to 2007

Growth in the desert. Left: 1984. Right: 2007. These images show the increasing urban sprawl of Las Vegas, Nevada, and the shrinking of Lake Mead on the border of Nevada and Arizona. Rapid growth in Las Vegas has led to increased demand for water resources, while below-average rainfall has decreased the water levels in Lake Mead, which is the source of 90 percent of southern Nevada's water.

Images taken by the Landsat-5 satellite. Credit: NASA/USGS.

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Kate Marnach, who co-opened the Minneapolis-based Tare Market in April, said she thinks it’s the responsibility of retailers to challenge the system. “Sometimes, it’s just a matter of asking your vendors, ‘Can this be done a different way?’ rather than just accepting the way it’s been done,” she said.

Her store doesn’t offer produce, but she said businesses often bag fruits and veggies simply for the convenience of using a barcode on multiple items at once. Selling produce without packaging should be simple, she said.

Things are trickier for perishables. Meats, for instance, need some kind of packaging to keep them fresh. Still, there might be less single-use trash if stores let people provide their own reusable packages. Metro, one of Canada’s biggest grocers, started a pilot program in Quebec earlier this year that allows consumers to bring their own containers and resealable plastic bags to buy meat, seafood, deli items, prepared foods and pastries.

In the United States, however, guidelines on containers that are brought from home differ from state to state, so large grocers tend to discourage it. Pinsky thinks retailers should instead work with regulators to find common ground on plastic waste. 

16 PHOTOS
16 products to help you cut back on waste
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16 products to help you cut back on waste

Bee's Wrap Reusable Food Wrap

This is the reusable alternative to plastic wrap. Just wash it in cool water with mild soap and let it air dry before using again. It's made with cotton and beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. 

BUY IT

Budieggs Wool Dryer Balls

These dryer balls can replace your dryer sheets and fabric softener. Throw them in the dryer and they can can soften fabrics, reduce wrinkles and catch lint and pet hair.

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Wowe Natural Organic Bamboo Toothbrush

Everything from the packaging to the brush handle to the bristles is eco-friendly. A 4-pack should last you a year, according to the brand. 

BUY IT

SodaStream Source Sparkling Water Maker

Make your own sparkling water (or sparkling lemonade, soda and more!) with a SodaStream. This can also help you eliminate the waste of plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

You can find the carbonator (not included) here.

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Keurig My K-Cup Universal Reusable Ground Coffee Filter

With these reusable filters, you can avoid throwing out those plastic K-Cups. Plus, you can fill them with any type of ground coffee you want. 

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BB Brotrade Reusable Mesh Produce Bags

Avoid the plastic bags at the grocery store and keep your produce in these reusable and washable produce bags. They're mesh, so you can even use them to wash and soak your produce. 

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Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers

Save your leftovers in these containers that are microwave, oven, freezer and dishwashwer safe. They beat out the plastic ones that get nasty food stains and melt in the microwave any day!

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rezip Lay-Flat Lunch Leakproof Reusable Storage Bag

Take your snacks to work or store them in the fridge or freezer with these reusable bags made with FDA-grade PEVA material.

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Squooshi Reusable Food Pouch

When making baby food or kids snacks (like applesauce), store it in these reusable squeeze pouches. 

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Xanitize Wet Mop Pads for Sweeper

Replace your Swiffer pads with these reusable ones that pick up dirt and dust. They're dual-sided for both dry dusting and wet mopping. 

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Green Estate Reusable Makeup Remover Pads

Use the black side for mascara, lipstick and other pigmented makeup and use the white side for toner and moisturizer. Once you're done using, rinse with water and throw in the provided laundry bag, which can then be throw in with the rest of your laundry to wash and reuse.  

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Croon Cleansing Starter Fibers in Waves

This makeup remover pad takes things a step further and eliminates the use of any makeup removing cleanser or chemicals. Just use with water, wash and reuse. You'll refrain from wasting cotton balls and the plastic containers cleaners generally come in.

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Swell Zephyr Water Bottle (with sport cap)

Ditch the plastic water bottles and drink out of a Swell water bottle. It keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours. This one also comes with the sports cap, meant for taking to the gym and minimal spills. 

BUY IT

Creative Green Life Insulated Grocery Shopping Bags 

Keep your groceries cold and avoid using plastic bags with these large reusable bags. 

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Tiblue Collapsible Metal Straw

This rainbow metal straw folds up into a small case and is made of food-grade stainless steel that won't rust and is FDA-approved. 

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renüSTRAW Silicone Collapsible Straw

These reusable straws are great for kids (and straw chewers). They come in a case with a cleaner and stay at a normal temperature when sipping on hot and cold drinks. 

BUY IT
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Zero waste retailers have become increasingly more outspoken about packaging requirements. Lyndsey Manderson, co-founder of ZERO Market in Boulder, Colorado, said she thinks many of the state’s food container rules are unnecessary. She wants to start selling food at her waste-free store, but she doesn’t want her customers to take it home in single-use packaging. Other states are more flexible about shoppers bringing containers from home, and Manderson is trying to get her local legislators to consider different rules. She is also considering a deposit system, in which consumers could pay a small fee for containers that are later returned, sterilized and reused — just like the returnable bottles of the early 20th century.

As for consumers navigating the minefield of single-use plastic at grocery stores, Pinsky and Mallos recommend speaking to store managers, voicing concerns about plastic waste, and perhaps requesting unwrapped produce, shelf-stable foods in bulk, or permission to use their own containers from home. 

“It may seem insignificant, one single request,” Mallos said. But if decision makers at retailers keep hearing the same asks, he said, it is a “very strong signal” that consumers want change. 

21 PHOTOS
Pollution in the world's oceans
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Pollution in the world's oceans
A pile of trash collected after it washed up on shore from the Pacific Ocean, waiting now to be shipped out, is seen as U.S. President Barack Obama tours the trash "boneyard" at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll, U.S., September 1, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Migrants' belongings and a navigational compass litter the deck of a wooden boat from which migrants were rescued 10.5 miles (16 km) off the coast of Libya, August 6, 2015. An estimated 600 migrants on the boat were rescued by the international non-governmental organisations Medecins sans Frontiere (MSF) and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) without loss of life on Thursday afternoon, according to MSF and MOAS, a day after more than 200 migrants are feared to have drowned in the latest Mediterranean boat tragedy after rescuers saved over 370 people from a capsized boat thought to be carrying 600 migrants. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA
A man wades in neck-deep sea water filled with debris while searching for valuable items after a fire razed some 500 houses along a coastal village in Malabon city, north of Manila April 7, 2011. The fire, believed to be caused by an exploding liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank, started before dawn on Thursday. No casualties were reported but at least 3,000 residents lost their homes. Fire fighters had a difficult time getting to the scene and putting out the blaze because the houses were close to each other and made of light materials, local media reported. REUTERS/Erik de Castro (PHILIPPINES - Tags: DISASTER SOCIETY)
A boy is hit by waves at the height of Typhoon Nanmadol, known locally as Typhoon Mina, as he collects recyclable materials from garbage washed onto the shore along Manila Bay in Manila August 27, 2011. The local weather bureau said Typhoon Nanmadol slowed down but maintained its strength after making landfall over Gonzaga town in Cagayan province Saturday morning. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo (PHILIPPINES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY DISASTER TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Ram Singh (L) and his relatives, dressed in traditional Hindu saffron-coloured clothes walk on a garbage-strewn beach against the backdrop of monsoon clouds on World Environment Day in Mumbai, June 5, 2012. According to the United Nations Environment Programme website, World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5 to raise global awareness and motivate action for environmental protection. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash (INDIA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY)
An egret searches for food among part of the estimated 150 tons of trash collected in the Los Angeles River in this photo released by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works December 11, 2006, after the season's first heavy rainfall over the weekend. The river, which feeds into the Pacific Ocean, contains debris including styrofoam cups, paint spray cans, plastic water bottles and used oil containers carried from cities within Los Angeles County. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY REUTERS/County of Los Angeles Department Public Works/Bob Riha, Jr. (UNITED STATES)
A Lebanese skindiver picks up a garbage bag from the water in the Manara area August 17, as part of the Big Blue campaign to save the Mediterranean, sponsered by Ministry of Enviroment. Volunteers taking part in the campaign to clear the 210 km shoreline of rubbish said they were bitterly disappointed at the poor trunout to clean up the polluted Mediterranean beaches. LEBANON ENVIRONMENT
Local residents observed to see piles of garbage on January 17, 2018 at Kedonganan beach, Bali, Indonesia. (Photo by Muhammad Fauzy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A general view shows rubbish at the Kotsiatis landfill on the outskirts of the Cypriot capital Nicosia on August 28, 2017. With more visitors heading to the Mediterranean island than ever before, the waste disposal system is under pressure despite efforts to cut landfill and encourage recycling, waste management and tourism experts say. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: Volunteers collect plastic rubbish and waste washed up on the beach besides the University of Plymouth's Marine Station as they take part in a awareness-raising event organised by the all-female eXXpedition crew who are preparing to sail around Britain to highlight plastic in the oceans on August 8, 2017 in Plymouth, England. In a pioneering sailing expedition, starting and finishing at the University of Plymouth's Marine Station, a diverse group of women will collect water samples to measure for micro-plastics and other toxic chemicals, as well as hold events in the various ports that they sail to including Cardiff, Belfast, Arran, Stornaway, Edinburgh, London and Plymouth. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
MARETTIMO ISLAND, SICILY, ITALY - JULY 6 2017: plastic trash is seen during a rock bottom dive site -33 meters below the sea level on July 6 2017 inside the Egadi Arcipelago Natural reserve.
Plastic in the sea is collected by the crew of a whale spotting boat out at sea on the Atlantic Ocean looking towards the volcanic coastline near Tazacorte in La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. La Palma, also San Miguel de La Palma, is the most north-westerly Canary Island in Spain. La Palma has an area of 706�km2 making it the fifth largest of the seven main Canary Islands. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Mogadischu, Somalia - May 01: A rusted wheelbarrow, filled with garbage, stands on the beach of Mogadishu on May 01, 2017 in Mogadischu, Somalia. (Photo by Inga Kjer/Photothek via Getty Images)
BAYWALK, MANILA, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, PHILIPPINES - 2016/08/10: This man bravely walks the garbage infested shoreline of bay walk to scavenge trash in exchange for money. Manila bay is one of the most polluted shoreline of the Philippines. It was left neglected leaving garbage and oil-spills to pollute this part of the ocean. (Photo by George Buid/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Fish market morning in Saint_Louis when the canoes arrive loaded with fish from the Atlantic ocean to sell it. (Photo by: Dani Salv��/VW PICS/UIG via Getty Images)
A damaged truck sits in a sea of plastic at a scrap yard near the town of Palo after Typhoon Haiyan hit the east coast of the Philippines, on November 20, 2013. The Philippines has received loan pledges totalling one billion dollars to help rebuild areas ravaged by super Typhoon Haiyan, after the World Bank matched an Asian Development Bank offer. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
plastic bottles and other garbage washed up on a beach in the county of cork, Ireland. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
Rubbish litter pollution on Botafogo beach near the marina, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)
Rubbish litter pollution on Botafogo beach near the marina, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)
Volunteers remove rubbish washed ashore along the coastline of freedom island in Paranaque City, suburban Manila on June 8, 2013 during a coastal clean-up drive as part of the program on World Ocean Day. Freedom Island or the Las Pinas- Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) has been declared a bird sanctuary by the government. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
BUNAKEN, INDONESIA - JANUARY 11: A polluted beach on the island of Bunaken near Manado, Indonesia, pictured on January 11, 2013. (Photo by Thomas Koehler/Photothek via Getty Images)
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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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