Anne Schauer-Gimenez (from left) Allison Pieja and Molly Morse of Mango Materials stand next to the biopolymer fermenter at a sewage treatment plant next to San Francisco Bay. The fermenter feeds bacteria the methane they need to produce a biological form of plastic.
Darrell Blatchley, environmentalist and director of D' Bone Collector Museum, shows plastic waste found in the stomach of a Cuvier's beaked whale near the Philippine city of Davao.
Around the globe, people are searching for ways to reduce plastic waste. Above: Dampalit, a fishing community in Manila Bay, can't keep up with a constant influx of trash.
Jes Aznar for NPR
Dutch innovator Boyan Slat poses for a portrait next to the anchors of his plastic collecting system in 2017. The trash collection device deployed to corral plastic litter floating is not capturing any garbage.
As awareness grows about the environmental toll of single-use plastics, retailers and regulators alike are finding ways to decrease their use. And straws have become a prime target.