Reduce Plastic Pollution
Scientists predict that marine plastic trash could outweigh all the fishes in the ocean by 2050 if we don't act now. In the Great Lakes, nearly 22 million pounds of plastic enter our waterways each year; that’s heavier than 7,300 adult beluga whales. Together, we can stop the flow of plastics into our lakes, oceans and waterways to protect the animals that call these places home.
How did this happen?
The average American throws away 270 pounds of plastic a year, yet only about 9 percent is recycled. A whopping 79 percent ends up in landfills or litters our environment. These plastics don’t decompose but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces. If they get into the aquatic environment, they can be life-threatening to animals, which can become entangled or mistake plastic bits for food.
This is a growing problem because more and more plastic products are manufactured for single-use. Since 1950, the global production of plastic has increased nearly 200-fold, and today annual plastic production is equivalent to the mass of two-thirds of the world’s population. Together, we must work toward a world free from plastic pollution to protect the animals and habitats threatened by our waste.
“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’s waters.Read More , on the “Shedding” Single-Use Plastics to Protect Our Waters page
“You can be part of the solution and help to improve the situation. ”Jaclyn Wegner, director of conservation action
How you can help
Learning about plastic pollution is the first step in preventing plastic from reaching our waterways and recognizing how much plastic we use every day. Here’s how else you can help:
- Refuse single-use plastic items like bottles, bags, cups, containers and cutlery whenever you can, and support businesses that are using or developing plastic-free alternatives.
- Remember your reusables! Limit your plastic footprint with every coffee shop visit, grocery store run and dinner out.
- Represent the fishes, birds and other aquatic life that cannot speak for themselves. Reach out to policymakers to advocate for policies that reduce single-use plastic to tackle the plastic pollution problem.
- Restore local shorelines by joining Shedd for one of our Lake Michigan or Chicago River cleanups.
Don’t forget to share these steps with family and friends. Collectively, our everyday actions will add up to big changes that protect aquatic wildlife.
These Shedd corporate partners have made the commitment to reduce single-use plastic and provide compostable or reusable alternatives:
Chicago White Sox
Loews Chicago Hotel
Own a restaurant or business?
Join our growing alliance of plastic reduction collaborators! Contact us at [email protected].