Throughout Plastic Free July, we have explored ways we can refuse single-use plastics and ditch the disposables in our personal lives. We have brought our own bags when shopping, used our own coffee mugs at cafes, refused plastic straws, opted for plastic free period and beauty products, and so many more small but impactful things!
Now it’s time to delve even deeper and become a plastic pollution activist! Engaging in activism can seem daunting at first, but speaking out for what’s right is easy. In this blog, our friends at 5 Gyres share their guide in becoming a plastic pollution activist:
Encourage your favorite local business to go plastic free
Reaching out to and connecting with your favorite coffee shop, restaurant, or music venue is a great way to spread the importance of going plastic free. You can ask to speak to the manager or ask if for their email so you can share the why’s of upgrading their business to ditching single-use plastics.
Advocate brands to switch to plastic free packaging
- Most major brands have 1-800-numbers where you can leave voice messages with questions, comments, and concerns. This is a powerful way of letting them know you support them to upgrade their packaging to be more sustainable. Why? 1-800-numbers are toll-free to the user, but the companies must pay a price for every call, making your message that much more poignant.
- For those who are shy on the phone, or get nervous, try writing out a script beforehand for you to read out loud.
- If phone calls aren’t your forte mail them a handwritten letter or send an email advocating the brand to go plastic free packaging. Don’t forget to to include the Whys!
Support for plastic free policies
- Do some research in your community and find out what single-use plastic products have been banned or being proposed to ban in your area. Many places have begun the process of banning plastic shopping bags, small single-use plastic bottles, straws, even utensils. Knowing what’s already happening locally gives you a place to start plastic pollution activism!
- Determine which elected officials are supporting this legislation and thank them on the phone! This is the best way to show support as every call is logged by hand. You can also send mail (elected officials, or their staff, read every piece of mail they receive so worth writing in), email, or share your thanks social media. For tips on calling your representative, check out this guide by Refinery29.
- Look up which elected officials oppose this legislation. Encourage them to change their minds by sharing facts about plastic pollution and why the proposed legislation is important to citizens like you.
- Attend a city council meeting and use your voice. Simply fill out a speaker slip, wait for your name to be called, and use your 2-3 minutes to share why this issue is so important. Just speak from the heart — it doesn’t have to be a grand speech, though it can be if that’s your thing.
- Lastly, find organizations working to support single-use plastic legislation, contact them, and get involved. Fringe benefit, you’ll get to make new friends.
Once you get involved, not only will you feel better, you’ll feel empowered. We can advocate for plastic-free policies and encourage brands to do better!