Sustainability Seminars

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Sustainability Seminars

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On this page, we share summaries from past IMET Sustainability Seminars. If you have additional suggestions for speakers, please reach out to the Sustainability Committee at

Addressing and Preventing Trash Pollution in Maryland, November 6, 2019

Ashley Van Stone, Executive Director, Trash Free Maryland - - @trashfreeMD

Ashley Van Stone is the Executive Director of Trash Free Maryland, which is the leading advocate for public policies and initiatives to reduce trash pollution in the state. Trash Free Maryland works with a network of coalition partners to advocate for trash reduction legislation. At our seminar, Ashley shared about the work that she and partner organizations have done to support the styrofoam ban, which was first passed in Baltimore and then in Maryland, making it the first state to do so. At the time of the seminar, a ban on plastic bags was moving to the final vote in the Baltimore City Council. 

In addition to advocating for policies to reduce trash, Trash Free Maryland runs the Less Litter B-More program, which aims to create a culture of neighborhood cleanups and stewardship. The pilot has been in Highlandtown, in Southeast Baltimore. Volunteers in the community clean up trash in their area and also collect data on how much trash accumulates each week. Trash Free Maryland also ran wider, single-day cleanups around Baltimore. Most recently, their "Cheers to Clean Water" event brought in volunteers to collect trash for 2 hours, after which they celebrated with a beer at a local brewery. Through these community engagement events, Trash Free Maryland hopes to bring everyone into their efforts. Ashley shared, "People litter less when there is less litter, so we need more people—picking a little or a lot—more often."

Food Waste and Environmental Sustainability, July 17, 2019

Dr. Roni Neff, Program Director, Food System Sustainability and Public Health Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Source reduction is the solution to plastic pollution, April 10, 2019

Maggie Ostdahl, Conservation Operations Manager, National Aquarium

Plastic pollution is negatively impacting human health and is often a fatal hazard for wildlife. Globally, waste management systems cannot keep pace with plastic production, thus the focus on solutions must emphasize source reduction. Maggie Ostdahl will discuss the National Aquarium’s efforts to reduce plastic throughout business operations as we continue to educate our audiences about the issue of plastic pollution.