If You Can’t Reuse It, Refuse It
June 5th is World Environment Day. This is the United Nation’s main way to raise worldwide awareness and encourage action for the protection of our environment. It’s a day to celebrate the natural environment and focus on issues that affect the global community and our posterity. Now more than ever it is important to recognize the environmental issues we must mitigate and take action.
This year’s theme is Beat Plastic Pollution. It is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. By 2050 there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish! 50% of our plastic waste is made up of single-use items. The theme invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health. To change the future, we each need to play our part. Here are a few ways to participate in the celebration:
- Carry out a plastic audit. How much disposable plastic do you use? Think about the single-use plastic that you use regularly, make a list and estimate how much plastic waste you create. Once you know your plastic footprint, set a goal to reduce it over time. It will be easier and have a greater impact if you challenge friends, family, or coworkers to work with you to reduce plastic use. Setting goals together will help you hold each other accountable.
- Easy ways to reduce your single-use plastic waste include bringing your own shopping bags to supermarkets and other stores, refusing plastic straws and cutlery, picking up any plastic waste you see (especially at the beach), and encouraging your favorite restaurants and businesses to switch to non-plastic packaging.
- Participate in or organize a clean up. UN Environment has teamed up with Litterati, a data science company that has created a powerful tool to help people to clean up the planet. As you pick up trash and recycling, use the Litterati app to record plastic items and brands you find. They will use the crowdsourced data to develop a ranking of most commonly found plastic products and brands.
- Support environmental organizations. Consider making a donation to Viridiant or another nonprofit that is committed to advancing sustainability.
- Join the global #BeatPlasticPollution game of tag. Invite friends and colleagues to take a selfie with their canvas shopping bag, metal straw or any other reusable product and tag five friends, telling them to do the same. The person tagged should post a photo with their reusable item within 24 hours.
Remember that every day matters. June 5th is World Environment Day, but the movement doesn’t stop there. Take steps everyday to lower your resource waste, stay involved in the conversation, and keep beating plastic pollution!
For more resources and information on World Environment Day or Beat Plastic Pollution visit worldenvironmentday.global/en
Media credits: World Environment Day & UN environment