Plastic Pollution Solutions: Trash Shouldn't Splash
All change starts small and has the potential to ripple into a much larger movement. While large issues like climate change and plastic pollution require large solutions, starting small and locally can inspire the big waves needed to save the planet. This is precisely what happened with a group of five middle schoolers in 2015.
A group of concerned middle schoolers in Falmouth, Massachusetts recognized that their waterways were plagued with plastic pollution and decided they were going to do something about it. Little did they know that their efforts would have lasting impacts not only on their community but far beyond their city limits.
The small group of students started the fight against single-use plastics in their community the only way they knew how: by talking to their neighbors and local shopkeepers. The campaign started small, encouraging people in their community to swap plastic straws with reusable or paper biodegradable alternatives. They posted hand-drawn signs in cafes and restaurants encouraging customers to consider the wildlife and skip the straws.
Soon the students joined the local Falmouth Water Stewards advocacy group, teaming up to launch a local chapter of the “Skip the Straw” movement under the name Trash Shouldn’t Splash. With a newfound organization, the group successfully encouraged local restaurants to stop or reduce their single-use plastic use, provide reusable alternatives, or institute a straw-on-request policy.
In the US we use several hundred million plastic straws each year, and the majority of those straws are used for a few short minutes only to last for centuries in landfills or oceans. This flood of plastic is a major threat to sea life, with an estimated 90% of seabirds and 50% of sea turtles ingesting plastic.
As the students of Falmouth and environmental experts everywhere have discovered, the solution is not as easy as showing the numbers and asking people to stop relying on single-use plastics. Things like straws, plastic cups, and utensils, and plastic packaging are a convenient habit that is hard to break on a worldwide scale. But changing your own behaviors and encouraging your neighbors, shop owners, and local communities to do the same is an amazing way to start ripples of change across the globe.
If you’d like to learn more about the Falmouth students or want ideas on how to get started on enacting change in your community, check out the Trash Shouldn’t Splash toolkit for ideas.
At Golden Arrow, we are doing our part to reduce single-use plastics. Our packaging solutions are made with sustainable plant fiber materials and eco-friendly production processes, and we strive to be a catalyst for change in the packaging industry. Explore our packaging options today!