Get involved in the clean ocean movement
8 ways to support our mission to end the ocean plastic crisis
1. Spread the word
One of the biggest barriers to taking action on plastic pollution is basic awareness of the issue. While this global crisis is gaining more attention in the media, there are still lots of people who don’t realize how pervasive plastic pollution is and how deeply ingrained our consumption habits are.
While we never judge anyone for the plastic they use, we do believe it’s important to have conversations about its impact on our environment and encourage others to join the clean ocean movement alongside us.
2. Follow your local recycling guidelines
Around 75% of the trash America produces is recyclable, but only 30% or so actually gets recycled. If we increased our recycling rate to 75%, it would have the same impact as removing 50 million passenger cars from our roadways. All recycling programs are unique and will vary from community to community, so check the guidelines from your local government or recycling center to make sure you’re following them properly. Earth 911’s “Where to Recycle” feature is a great resource if you need help!
If you have plastic or other trash you can’t recycle, don’t trash it! Explore how you can upcycle it into something useful or see if someone you know could use it. If that won’t work, check out TerraCycle and see if they have a solution for your hard-to-recycle waste.
3. Make sustainable swaps and reduce your plastic footprint
Recycling is not the solution to the ocean plastic crisis. In fact, some common types of plastic can never be recycled. Take single-use plastic straws for example: Americans use about 500 million of them every day; laid end to end, they’d wrap around the Earth about 2.5 times every single day. So while we work to improve our recycling habits at home and at work, we must also start refusing single-use and non-recyclable plastics and swap them with sustainable and reusable products instead.
4. Join or organize a cleanup in your neighborhood
While COVID restrictions prevent us from hosting 4ocean Community Cleanups right now, removing plastic from your local environment is still one of the best ways to prevent it from entering the ocean. Whether you go solo, get the family involved, or spend the day with friends at a safe social distance, go spend some time in nature and start looking for trash. Even people in “clean” neighborhoods are surprised by how much trash they find when they’re actively looking for it. Remember to take before and after pics and share them with @4ocean on social!
5. Don’t pass it up, pick it up!
You don’t have to wait for a community cleanup to pick up trash! As you’re going through your daily routine, keep an eye out for trash on the ground and make sure it gets placed in the appropriate trash or recycling bin. If there is no trash immediately available, just hold onto it until you can dispose of it properly.
6. Advocate for ocean-friendly legislation
If we are going to achieve our mission of ending the ocean plastic crisis, we must choose to act not just as consumers, but as informed citizens as well. We must urge our government to hold brands, manufacturers, and the plastics industry accountable for the significant role they play in this global crisis.
Ocean conservation is a bipartisan issue. So while we’ll never tell you how to vote, we will always encourage you to review your candidates’ and representatives’ record on environmental issues and raise your voice in support of ocean-friendly legislation.
7. Hold your favorite brands accountable
For decades, the plastics industry and corporations around the world have put the blame for plastic pollution on irresponsible consumers and countries that lack waste management infrastructure. While we know consumers can take steps to reduce their consumption of plastic, they can’t stop production. But corporations can.
Instead of finding solutions for plastic waste after it’s produced, we must stop producing unnecessary plastic in the first place. So write to the brands you love and let them know that you expect them to innovate sustainably. If you’re on a cleanup and find their products as litter, tag them on social media using tags like #isthisyours and #breakfreefromplastic. The more they hear from consumers on this issue, the more likely they’ll be to make change. But if they refuse to change, then you can choose to find a more sustainable brand to support.
8. Support ocean-friendly nonprofits
There are countless ocean conservation initiatives to support and many incredible organizations working hard every single day to protect the ocean and all of the animals that call it home. So research the causes that matter most to you and when you find an organization you’d like to support, donate whatever you can as often as you can, whether that’s time, money, supplies, or simply sharing their message.
Every month, 4ocean releases a new, limited edition bracelet in partnership with a nonprofit organization and donates $1 to ocean conservation for every bracelet sold.
CLEAN OCEAN CLUB