Enormous gyres made up of plastic “soup” have been found in all our oceans. The infamous North Pacific Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, covers an area twice the size of Texas! Meanwhile, endocrine-disrupting plastic chemicals like BPA (and its replacements) could be contributing to cancer, birth defects, and behavior problems.
All this plastic is wreaking havoc on our health and environment. Here are some tips from EarthShare members on fighting back against plastic pollution:
Support Plastic Fees and Bans (bags, microbeads, takeout containers, etc.). Policy is the most effective tool to fight plastic pollution. Tell your local, state, and federal politicians that you want to dis-incentivize wasteful plastic use. Check out the cities that have already done it.
Put pressure on Manufacturers. If you believe a company could be smarter about its packaging, make your voice heard. Write a letter, send a tweet, or give your money to a more sustainable competitor (NRDC).
Volunteer to Cleanup a Waterway. Sign up to participate in one of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanups or Surfrider Foundation’s Cleanups. It’s a fun (and eye-opening) way to care for your local environment.
Reduce *Before* Recycling. While it’s better than the landfill, recycling plastic isn’t a sustainable solution. Plastic degrades as it’s recycled and is sometimes exported to other countries. Reduce first, then reuse, then recycle (Save Our Shores).
Keep Plastic Out of the Kitchen. Avoid heating plastic containers and use kitchen dishes and implements made of glass, porcelain, wood, cast iron, and stainless steel instead (CEHN).
BYO (Bring Your Own) Everything. From utensils and mugs to bags and diapers, we can kick the single-use habit by purchasing longer-lasting products meant to be reused (Surfrider Foundation/Earth Island Journal).
Change the Culture. At a coffee shop? Ask the barista for a ceramic cup. Decline excess packaging at stores, and share news about successful campaigns to fight plastic with your friends. Together, we can change the culture around waste.