Plastic Awareness

Climate change and plastic pollution disproportionately affect developing countries, like the ones our GIVE projects are in.

We have committed to projects with this idea in mind, making sure to reduce pollution by reusing plastic bottles in different infrastructure and education projects. As GIVErs, we are committed not only to igniting sustainable change in the countries we work in around the world, but also in our home countries as well. This week, GIVErs from across the globe are working together to help raise awareness about the harmful effects of single-use plastics, showcasing their commitment to global citizenship.

Here at GIVE HQ, we are joining them in their efforts by tracking our plastic consumption for the week. We’ve already ditched plastic bottles and instead use our reusable GIVE bottles, but this week, we are looking to become more aware of our use of plastic, and we challenge you to do the same! The way to do this is to collect any plastic you use in a bag instead of throwing it away. At the end of the week, you can then examine all the plastic you use in a week and figure out ways to reduce your use accordingly.

To understand why this week is so important, here are some facts about plastic, and some more tips about how you can be leaving more hand-prints than footprints behind you!

Plastic facts:

  • According to a study by the Ocean Conservatory in 2015, plastic bags came in second to discarded cigarette butts as the most-identified type of refuse​
  • Plastic packaging, bags and bottles are thrown away every day, and end up in trash sites as well as in forests, creeks, rivers, seas, and oceans around the world.
  • 50% of plastic we use is used just once and thrown away
  • The average American throws away over 185 pounds of plastic per year
  • Americans throw away 35 BILLION plastic water bottles every year
  • More than 1 million plastic bags are used every minute
  • Every square mile of ocean has 46,000 pieces of plastic in it
  • The production of plastic for the U.S. alone uses 331 billion barrels of petroleum, enough to make fuel for 1 million cars

What you can do:

  • Use reusable bottles and bags instead of plastic shopping bags or bottled water
  • Refuse single-serving packaging and other disposable plastics
  • Refuse plastic straws at restaurants
  • Carry reusable utensils in your car or purse or backpack
  • Reduce your plastic use at lunchtime and replace those plastics with a reusable lunch box and a thermos
  • Bring a to-go cup with you to the coffee shop or restaurant
  • Volunteer at beach clean-ups
  • Spread the word!

It may seem like taking these steps is just a drop in the ocean, and it won't truly cause positive change. But the ocean is made of drops. If all of us choose to make small changes in our daily lives, it can create waves that stretch far beyond our individual reach.

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