When you become a Sheddvocate, one of our key requests is that you pledge to reduce your consumption of single-use plastic. Why is that commitment so important for animals in our oceans?
The reality is that single-use plastics are a major pollutant in the world’s oceans and freshwater systems. Ninety percent of all floating trash in the oceans is plastic, from beverage bottles to industrial pellets to bits too tiny to identify anymore.
A growing issue
Global plastic production has increased by 620 percent since 1975, much of it for single-use products: water and soft-drink bottles, beverage cups, straws, disposable utensils, wrappers and packaging. On average, we each throw away about 185 pounds of single-use plastic products a year.
Approximately 19 billion pounds of plastic wind up in the oceans each year, killing 1 million seabirds and 100 million marine mammals. While some plastic debris comes from ships, at least 80 percent of it originates on land, with us. And it’s a long-lasting legacy: plastic never entirely biodegrades. It instead remains in the environment for hundreds of years as toxic microparticles consumed at all levels of the food web.
Shedd takes action
Shedd Aquarium is taking steps to limit our single-use plastic footprint—and benefit aquatic animals. The aquarium has eliminated single-use plastics, such as straws, utensils, individual condiment containers and shopping bags, from its restaurants and stores while also providing plastic recycling receptacles for guests and staff members. Shedd even received the “Outstanding Non-Profit Recycling and Waste Reduction Program” award from the Illinois Recycling Association.
As Shedd’s Animal Response Team helps animals around the globe, you can do your part by pledging to reduce your single-use plastic consumption as a Sheddvocate. It’s no small commitment, but it can have a big impact on the health of marine wildlife and our oceans.
#ActWithShedd—take the plastics pledge now!