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Free single-use plastics tracking app created by Eckerd College professors launches

By Robbyn Hopewell
Published May 16, 2023
Categories: About Eckerd, Community Engagement, Sustainability
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Associate Professor of Marine Science Amy Siuda, Ph.D., left, with Professor of Marine Science and Biology Shannon Gowans, Ph.D. Photos by Penh Alicandro ’22

Want to get better at refusing single-use plastics? There’s an app for that.

Remora, a digital application that asks users to track each time they use and refuse plastic items such as straws, bags and cups, launched privately on April 26 during a zero-waste ice cream social at Eckerd College—the campus that birthed the idea.

More than 200 students, faculty and staff downloaded the app while they waited to grab a free cone of ice cream or nondairy sorbet and got to explore the features—including the personal usage survey, the tracking interface and the leaderboard.

Users can view businesses on a map where the Remora community has tracked plastic items, and they can see where they rank across all users in their area. Available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, the free app also will help sustainability leaders make the case for local ordinance reforms to reduce single-use plastic consumption at the sources.

Poster: Over 2500 garbage trucks worth of plastic enters the ocean every day

Promotional materials for the new app

Eckerd faculty, staff and students gather outside Triton’s Pub to celebrate the private launch of the free app in April.

Spearheaded by Associate Professor of Marine Science Amy Siuda, Ph.D., and Professor of Marine Science and Biology Shannon Gowans, Ph.D., Remora began as a class project that evolved into a real opportunity to learn more about the ways people were using plastics.

Development of the app began in February 2022 funded by a $499,638 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“It is really exciting to see that the Remora community has already tracked more than 1,500 uses and refusals of single-use plastic items. We look forward to seeing use of the app grow in the coming weeks and months,” remarked Gowans.

Community partners—including the City of St. Petersburg, Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Tampa Bay Watch, Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition, St. Pete Youth Farm and Arts Conservatory for Teens—will collaborate with the team to hold community engagement opportunities, promote the finished product, and drive users toward downloading and using the app.

A public launch event open to the community will take place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 17, at 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg. For information about the app, visit

Student wearing backpack looks at mobile phone app

A student tests out the app.