Our Ocean is no Place for Plastic Lollipop Sticks

What do beaches in southeast Florida and New Zealand have in common besides the sand and the sea?

Would you believe if we said an abundance of plastic lollipop sticks?

Recently during the analysis of beach cleanup debris by Loggerhead Marinelife Center, hundreds of plastic lollipop sticks were being recorded, which was strange. In 2019 alone, LMC recorded over 1,771 plastic lollipop sticks picked up off our beaches- so we decided to take a closer look at these single-use plastic items.

Lollipop Stick Study

LMC conducted a 7-day study on these plastic sticks, and what found was surprising–452 plastic lollipop sticks on just 1/3 mile of beach.

For comparison, LMC also counted the number of plastic straws, stirrers and plastic eating utensils found on that same beach. These plastic items are among the five most common items reported from beach cleanups worldwide. In comparison, plastic lollipop sticks were three times more abundant than plastic forks, spoons and knives, and nine times more than the number of plastic straws and stirrers collected.

Plastic Lollipop Sticks – a Global Issue

Plastic lollipop sticks are being found by the hundreds on Florida beaches, but are also being reported on beaches in other parts of the world—as far as New Zealand. LMC has begun discussions with conservationists in New Zealand to learn more about the extent of their problem and how we can work together to solve it.

LMC is committed to minimizing the abundance and impact of single-use plastic items in the marine environment. In 2018, a video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw lodged in its nostril went viral on social media, igniting worldwide efforts to eliminate plastic straws, including our own “Straw Free with LMC” campaign.

Plastic, once it enters the ocean, will never go away. Instead, it breaks down over time into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces of plastic pose a threat to sea turtles and other marine life that mistake it for food and become ill.

It is our hope that we will not need documentation on the detrimental impacts of plastic lollipop sticks on marine life before this single-use item is recognized as something we can all live without to help keep our oceans clean and marine life safe.