Preventing Plastic Pollution

The equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic enters into our seas every minute, every day, all year long.

Our planet can no longer tolerate a culture of throw-away plastics. For too long, corporations have put the onus on all of us to deal with their own failed design problem.


The flow of plastics into our environment has reached crisis proportions, and the evidence is most clearly on display in our oceans. It is estimated that up to 12 million metric tons of plastic enter our ocean each year.

Our oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup, and the effects on ocean life are chilling. Discarded plastic fishing lines entangle turtles and seabirds, and plastic pieces of all sizes choke and clog the stomachs of creatures who mistake it for food, from tiny zooplankton to whales. Plastic is now entering every level of the ocean food chain and is even ending up in the seafood on our plates.

Our planet can no longer tolerate a culture of throw-away plastics. Single-use plastics are filling up our landfills, choking our rivers, and contaminating our oceans. For far too long, corporations have put the onus on all of us to deal with their own failed design problem. We have been told that the individual should simply recycle away the billions of tons of plastics corporations produce and that it will make the difference needed to sustain our planet.

We have been told a lie.

Over 90% of plastics are not recycled. Recycling alone is simply never going to solve this problem. The scale of the problem corporations have created must be met with a fundamental shift in how they bring products to people. It is up to all of us to demand better — to tell these corporate giants that we will no longer tolerate the plastics they force upon us. Our world deserves better, and we don’t need their products if they refuse to adapt.

It’s time for us to reject the old corporate story that a throw-away lifestyle makes us happy. Nothing that is used for a few minutes should end up polluting our oceans for a lifetime.

With enough pressure from our supporters and allies around the world, the biggest companies like Coke, Pepsi, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Unilever, Nestlé, and Procter & Gamble will embrace a better model through innovation and redesign. They will reject the old story, and rediscover how to produce and deliver goods in a way that respects our oceans and our planet.

Together, we can do better. We can bring about a simpler life without endless waste — a life where people and the planet flourish. Demand big corporations do their part to end plastic pollution!

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What You Can Do

At Greenpeace, we think the industry plays a larger role than individuals. Why is it that something intended to be used for minutes is packaged in something that lasts forever? We’re demanding that corporations take responsibility for the plastic pollution crisis and end the use of destructive single-use plastics and packaging. They have created this mess and must be held accountable. Here are the steps you can take now to end plastic pollution:

It is going to take commitments both large and small to tackle the scale of the plastic pollution crisis in front of us, and we all have a role to play. Every action to reduce single-use plastics sends a message to the industry that it’s time to change. Use our Million Acts of Blue Toolkit to learn more about how you can take action and stop single-use plastic at its source!

Sign our petition demanding that the CEOs of seven of the largest producers of single-use plastics take responsibility for their products. Join us in letting executives at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and others know that we no longer want products made with single-use plastic packaging.

Document the single-use plastic pushed on you and use your social media to tell corporations enough is enough! You can share your images  highlighting the problem in one of 3 ways:

  • On Facebook: Tag @GreenpeaceUSA and the brand responsible!
  • On Twitter: Use hashtags #PointlessPlastic, #RidiculousPackaging, #BreakFreeFromPlastic, and the brand responsible!
  • On Instagram: Tag @greenpeaceusa and the brand responsible!

Doing a trash clean up? Help us identify and expose the corporations contributing to plastic pollution on our beaches and in other natural areas by adding a brand audit to your cleanup!

Need more ideas? Here are more individual actions you can take on a daily basis to help solve this problem:

  • Refuse plastic whenever possible. Say no to straws, lids, plastic bags, and plastic takeaway containers. Carry your own utensils or a wooden spork and avoid using plastic utensils.
  • Review restaurants and cafes and recognize them when they avoid straws and plastic packaging – and let them know you want them to do better when they don’t.
  • Use reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, and bags. Some retailers will even give you a discount for doing so!
  • If you forget your reusable coffee mug at a coffee shop, ask to have your coffee “for here” in a real mug and drink it there. Many coffee shops have ceramic mugs for customers, but they only use them upon request.
  • Tell your local supermarket that you won’t buy produce wrapped in plastic. Purchase loose fruits and vegetables or shop at the farmers market.
  • Bring your own glass container or mesh baggies and buy grains, nuts, and other items in the bulk section.
  • Avoid items wrapped in excess plastic.
  • Replace plastic items at home with alternatives made from natural materials (bamboo toothbrushes, glass jars, wooden toys).
  • Whenever you see plastic in nature, collect it and recycle it if possible or put it in the trash can.
  • Talk trash with your friends, family, and colleagues! Share this website with them and show them photos and videos about plastic pollution on social media to help spread awareness about this global problem.

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