20 Ways to Stand Up and Stop Plastic Pollution Today

Did you know that over the last decade we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century? Or that our oceans now contain billions of pounds of plastic?

Plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest. If you’re fired up about our health and the health of our planet, we have good news: so are we. Here are 20 things we all can do to stand up, speak out, and take action against plastic pollution.

20. Stop buying plastic bottled water. Get a reusable bottle and refill it.

19. Just say no to single-use plastic grocery bags. Bring your own bags wherever you shop.

18. Learn the facts about plastic pollution. That “floating continent” of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean is only the tip of the iceberg. Plastic doesn't biodegrade; it photodegrades, meaning it breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces, creating a plastic soup in our oceans.

18. Watch Jeff Bridges speak the truth about plastic, and take the pledge to refuse disposable plastic.

17. Learn how to start a plastic bag ban in your town.

16. Join our global Coalition. Our voices are stronger together.

15. Refuse plastic straws in your drink. Get used to saying “No, straw please,” when dining out.

14. Ask local restaurants to serve straws only on request. You can leave this card at your table.

13. Forgo takeout containers. Bring your own reusable container or eat in at restaurants.

12. Sign the petition to stop Nestle’s unregulated water bottling in California.

11. Give up plastic wraps and bags. Purchase alternatives or reuse glass jars.

10. Donate to Plastic Pollution Coalition. We are working toward a world free of toxic plastic pollution, and we need all hands on deck.

9. Cook real food whenever possible. Packaged food is often wrapped in plastic. Thousands of chemicals are used in food packaging and can migrate into the food or liquid they hold.

8. Recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce, or reuse.

7. Vote with your dollars. Pay attention to the entire lifecycle of items you bring into your life, from source to manufacturing to distribution to disposal. Demand better alternatives to disposable plastic.

6. Join a beach clean up. Use the interactive map to find a cleanup site near you.

5. Choose clothes made with natural fibers whenever possible. Synthetic clothes shed small plastic fibers when washed that pollute rivers and oceans.

4. Refuse “styrofoam” food and drink containers. “Styrofoam” or polystyrene is carcinogenic to animals and is a probable human carcinogen. Learn how to start a styrofoam ban in your town.

3. Photograph plastic pollution wherever you live. Use this app to record plastic pollution anywhere in the world.

2. Refuse personal care products with plastic microbeads. Toothpastes and face and body washes can contain tiny plastic beads that end up in our waterways. Learn more about the products that contain microbeads and what you can do to stop this pollution.

1. Make your voice heard! Keep talking to your friends, relatives, and neighbors about plastic pollution and our environment. Use the facts and research you’ve found here to help your community understand the issue, so they can also stand up to Big Oil and go plastic free. Only together can we achieve a world free of plastic pollution.

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