The Newport Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation announced two new plastic reduction programs starting in 2018. Both programs will have their first committee meetings this month. One of the campaigns is called ditch the straw. 500 million straws are discarded every day in the United States. Plastic straws do not biodegrade, persisting in the environment forever. Through this program, Surfrider will be working with businesses in Newport to eliminate plastic straw use. Used for a few minutes then discarded, once in the environment plastic never degrades but breaks into ever smaller pieces. Straws are a particular hazard. Small and light, they can end up lodged in the nostrils of sea turtles and perforating the stomachs of penguins. Another program Surfrider is working on is called hold on to your butt. Cigarette butts are the most commonly collected marine debris items. Cigarette butts contain plastic fibers and toxic chemicals that are leached into the environment, especially when they get wet. The goal of the program is to reduce the amount of cigarette butt litter in Newport by working with businesses to place cigarette butt canisters throughout the city. Anyone interested in learning more to volunteering with either of these programs can go online to www.newport.surfrider.org.