I’m Done! (With Disposable Plastic)

How do you make a lasting change in your behavior? How do you take a desire to be and do better and turn it into action? In the past months, you may have been exposed to powerful information and imagery, showing the drastic tolls that plastic pollution is having on our environment, our health, and the health of the other organisms that we share the planet with. You may have even gone to the effort of finding out ways you can stop contributing to the problem, by refusing plastic straws and shopping bags, or by purchasing clothing with natural fibers instead of plastic fabrics that release microscopic plastic fibers into the water system. But even though you are aware of the problem and taking some action, you may still not be living up to your own expectations. You still consume disposable plastic too readily and occasionally dispose of it in a less than environmentally friendly way. We know that giving up plastics is difficult! It happens to all of us. Many of us at Earth Day Network have been realizing with close introspection, that we aren’t reducing our plastic pollution footprint as much as we would like to be. So, what can we do?

We have realized that a blanket commitment to reduce our consumption of plastics does not work. There are way too many different plastic items, and the best way to reduce our consumption is to think about them one by one. And then resolve to reduce your consumption of each one by a specific amount!

That’s why Earth Day Network has produced the Plastic Pollution Footprint Calculator and Planner. This tool not only allows you to calculate how many plastics items you consume and discard in a year, but it also lets you set a goal for how much you would like to reduce your consumption by, from each category of disposable plastic. Once you have visualized your ideal amount of plastic reduction, you can submit it as a pledge to ensure that you hold yourself accountable. You can print it out to help make sure you live up to your goals.

A resolution such as the one we are inviting to make for Earth Day will become a reality if you embrace being aware and thinking about your pledge every time you use or are about to purchase a plastic item.

Invite a friend or a family member to join you and share the solutions that you are testing and the progress you are making with them. You can also challenge them to make an equally ambitious resolution and keep track of your progress together!

The best way to make sure you stick to your goals is by clearly articulating them and then publicly proclaiming your intention to stick with them through to the finish. We all have habits and routines that are difficult to break. If no one knows that you plan to stop using plastic straws, no one will know when you start slipping up and help you remember your commitment. Earth Day Network wants to make it easier for you to commit to reducing your plastic pollution footprint. We want to help you set your goals and then see them through.

The campaign to ending plastic pollution is a group effort. It will only happen if we all know that we are working together to come up with every solution we can. We will reduce our consumption much more if we know that we are part of a community that is striving together to change our habits and behaviors. You will be joining a global movement of billions of people all doing the same thing. This will make a difference!!

If you can’t make a resolution yet because you don’t know how to reduce your own contribution to plastic pollution, we have collected the information you need to get motivated and get take action. Download our Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit and use the calculator.

Help the planet, help yourself and let’s work together to end plastic pollution.