Here’s a checklist for reducing single-use plastics in your everyday activities:
• Use a refillable water bottle. Americans consume 1,500 bottled waters every second, but recycle less than 30 percent of the empties. That’s 35 billion single-use plastic bottles with the potential of winding up local waterways and the ocean.
• Carry a reusable shopping bag. Canvas is best—it's washable and long-lasting.
• Pack a waste-free lunch in reusable containers and bags. And opt for fresh fruits and veggies, along with bulk items instead of products in single-serving cups.
• When possible, buy products that come in recyclable cardboard packaging instead of single-use plastic, like laundry detergent, pasta and many dairy products.
• Use cloth diapers. In the United States, an estimated 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers wind up in the garbage every year.
• Avoid single-use plastic silverware and straws at home and in restaurants, including carry-out. If you need a straw, purchase a reusable one made of glass or stainless steel.
• Use a razor with replaceable blades. It wastes a lot less plastic than disposable ones.
• Use matches instead of throw-away plastic lighters, or invest in a refillable metal lighter.
If all of Shedd’s 25,000 member households—and the people in their networks—take the plastic pledge, we’ll go a long way toward stopping the flow of single-use plastic into the oceans.