Green America is looking for innovative small businesses that are producing alternatives to plastic. You can help them by nominating a company for the Green America’s People and Planet Awards.

Two small-business winners will receive $5,000 each to support their efforts to counter the deluge of plastic pollution. Nominees must either produce a product that is an alternative to plastic or produce a product commonly made from plastic using more renewable materials. Eligible businesses could produce alternatives to plastic-based wrap, straws, bags, containers, toys or other items.

Plastic waste is a mounting problem, especially as international recyclers are either closing or restricting the amount of waste they will accept.

An estimated 18-billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the oceans each year, which is the equivalent of five grocery bags of plastic trash sitting on every foot of coastline around the world, according to a University of Georgia report. Forty percent of that plastic was produced as packaging, used just once and then discarded. In the U.S., residents use an average of one plastic bag per day. In comparison, shoppers in Denmark use an average of four plastic bags a year. In the U.S., residents only recycle nine percent of their plastic, according to a University of California-Santa Barbara study.

To learn more about the Green America People & Planet Award and to nominate a business, visit Green America.

Each winner will receive $5,000 to strengthen its green business mission. Eligible businesses must be based in the U.S., have fewer than 50 employees, and have strong social and environmental commitments. Nominations are due April 1.

Photo: Bo Eide / CC