The problem of plastic pollution
As we navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of waste we produce has drastically increased, consisting largely of single-use plastic from carryout food containers, disposable masks and delivery packaging. Considering a great deal of this plastic does not get reused or recycled, it will eventually pollute our lakes, rivers and oceans. Even before the pandemic, 22 million pounds of plastic entered the Great Lakes every year, threatening the health of wildlife and the quality of our drinking water.
Though we are faced with unprecedented challenges, Shedd remains committed to tackling plastic pollution for the long-term and we bet you are, too. Together, we can stop the flow of plastics into aquatic ecosystems to protect the animals and people that call these places home.
Ways to get involved
Together, we can make a difference
Restaurants: Join Let’s Shedd Plastic
Earlier this year, Shedd Aquarium launched Let’s Shedd Plastic, a collaborative program to work with restaurants to reduce single-use plastics in their operations, provide learning opportunities for staff and patrons, and collectively advocate for more sustainable policies and systems. See the restaurants that have already signed up.
Do you represent a restaurant or foodservice business?
Become a Let's Shedd Plastic collaborator!
Working towards a plastic-free future
In addition to restaurants, we are also working with policymakers, businesses, school and scout groups, community leaders and many others to tackle plastic pollution from every angle. Through these collaborations, we will work together to continuously take action to prevent plastic pollution for wildlife and humans alike.
Join the movement
Our everyday actions can make a difference and demonstrate a demand for big changes to protect our environment and the people and wildlife who inhabit it. It is critical that we take action today to advocate for sustainable solutions to the plastic crisis. Here's how you can help:
✓ Opt for reusables
Replace single-use disposable plastic items like cutlery with your carry-out meals with reusables. Check out our consciously curated shopping guide with a focus on conserving nature.
✓ Raise your voice
The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 was recently introduced in Congress, and we need your help to move it forward. The bill would increase industry participation in solutions, incentivize innovation to reduce single-use plastic and support next generation waste management infrastructure at the local and state level. Please contact your member of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act.
✓ Restore local habitats
Join one of Shedd Aquarium’s Action Days. We’ll pick up litter or remove invasive plants that pose another threat to local wildlife.
✓ Nominate a restaurant
Nominate your favorite restaurant to join Let's Shedd Plastic. Fill out this form and our team of conservation experts will reach out!
Sign up for plastic pollution alerts
Calling all nature lovers, animal enthusiasts and community scientists! Introducing Surge: a dedicated community for Earth-friendly living. We need your energy, your passion and your ideas to drive our new community dedicated to building a healthy and equitable future for all members of our shared planet. Get tips delivered right to your inbox from experts you trust! Sign up for Surge.
Learn more about our efforts
“Shedding” Single-Use Plastics to Protect Our Waters
Plastic waste, large and small, has become embedded in every environment on Earth, harming wildlife. But it’s especially insidious in the world’...
Shedd Teams Up with Restaurants to Decrease Plastic Pollution
Shedd Aquarium is teaming up with Chicagoland restaurants on World Oceans Day, June 8, to decrease Chicago’s contribution of plastic waste that ...
9 ways to reduce plastic consumption
This Earth Month, #LetsSheddPlastic together! Explore 9 ways you can help reduce plastic at home.