Get educated! Reduce plastics in your school, business, or community.

  • Get educated and educate others about single-use plastics
  • Lend a hand with cleanups of your local beach or watershed
  • Reduce plastic in your school or business

Participate in a watershed cleanup near you and help to remove trash and document plastic debris impacting the world’s beaches and waterways. Learn more and
sign-up for a local volunteer event.

Watch the Story of Bottled Water to learn why buying bottled water isn’t always the best choice. Host a screening of the movie Bag It and learn how to encourage your school or community to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags. Teachers can download lesson plans and attend an Ocean Plastic Pollution Teacher Summit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Students can check out the Algalita Marine Research Institute and their Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions Youth Summit focusing on research and solutions.

Join your local chapter of Surfrider Foundation or Waterkeeper Alliance, or form your own group of friends to clean up beaches and watersheds in your area. Register to volunteer for the annual Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-Up Day which takes place each September. Learn how Tangaroa Blue and Sustainable Coastlines are engaging volunteers in Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii to remove plastic marine debris from the coastlines and upcycle them into new products.

Explore innovative efforts to reduce single-use plastics in schools, businesses, and communities such as Cafeteria Culture, Plastic Free Hawaii, and the NRDC’s Stop Plastic Pollution campaign. Get connected with Plastic Pollution Coalition’s Plastic Free Schools, a global community of schools from Kindergarten through University working to reduce their plastic footprint. The Community Environmental Council’s Rethink the Drink program is reducing the use of plastic water bottles by installing water refill stations at schools in California. Explore creative reuse ideas such as the Global Cardboard Challenge, inviting kids around the world to design and build recycled creations.


Choose to be Plastic Free! Make the switch to reusable bags and water bottles and purchase products with no or minimal plastic packaging.

  • Make the Plastic Promise to reduce your plastic footprint.
  • Carry your own reusable bag and water bottle wherever you go
  • Make conscious purchasing choices and select products with little or no packaging

Plastic can be incredibly useful in making durable items like contact lenses and electronics, but it is also used to make products used just once then thrown away, like straws, take-out utensils, and plastic cups. Plastic does not biodegrade, it photodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces and can remain in the environment indefinitely.

When making purchases, you can make a choice to reduce your environmental impact. Seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on. Learn more about the choices you can make to reduce your plastic waste and take the 5 Gyres Plastic Promise. Choose products, such as facial cleansers and cosmetics, that don’t contain plastic microbeads and sign the 5 Gyres Ban the Bead Petition.

In the time it takes you to read this sentence over 6,000 plastic bottles will be consumed in the United States. Over 1 million plastic bags are estimated to be used every minute worldwide. Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water and bring your own cloth bags and metal water bottle. Use Food and Water Watch’s Tap Buddy app to kick the bottled water habit and locate nearby water fountains to refill.

As consumers, we all have the power to make conscious purchasing choices and motivate companies to rethink and redesign products and packaging. Learn more about the Think Beyond Plastic Innovation Forum inspiring innovation and entrepreneurial projects with a focus on alternatives to disposal plastics and innovative product design. Refuse single-serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other disposable plastics. Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags by replacing them with reusable lunch containers. Bring your to-go mug to the coffee shop or smoothie shop to reduce lids and plastic cups.


Speak out for alternatives to single use plastics.

  • Get connected with non-profits working on solutions to plastic pollution
  • Support local and national policies and efforts to ban single use plastics
  • Encourage friends and family to reduce their plastic waste

Single-use plastic, such as the plastic used for water bottles, shopping bags, and packaging, is designed to be used for minutes or hours, yet can persist in the environment for hundreds of years. Plastic has been accumulating in the worlds oceans since the 1950’s with studies showing marine litter is now 60-80% plastic

Help reduce waste in your town with Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics Toolkit, a step by step guide to create positive change, establish bag bans or ordinances, and raise awareness about plastic pollution through education and outreach. Work with your local community to become a Bag It Town and systematically reduce the use of single-use disposable bags.

Use your voice and add your name to the Story of Stuff Project petition to get plastic water bottles out of America’s National Parks. Take the Corporate Accountability International Think Outside the Bottle Pledge to encourage public officials to support strong public water systems. Support the Food & Water Watch Take Back the Tap pledge and support policies that promote clean, affordable tap water for all.

Learn more about UPSTREAM’s Make It Take It campaign and ask corporations to take responsibility for their packaging waste. Spread the word. Talk to friends and family about the importance of reducing plastic pollution and encourage the simple behaviour changes that will make a difference.