Day 11: Place a call to break free from plastic
Today's action: Calling your reps about the plastic crisis
(If you're reading this action on a weekend, you can make a note to do this on Monday.)
Today’s action is to take a couple minutes to call your senators and congressperson (Déjà vu? Relax, we’re only asking you to call them a total of three times this month!), this time to urge them to support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021.
Call both of your senators and your congressperson at their local or DC numbers. Use our sample script, adjusting as you’d like.
→ Sample script: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm a constituent from [CITY/TOWN, ZIP]. I'm calling to ask that [REP/SEN NAME] support [House: H.R. 2238 / Senate: S. 984], the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021. Plastic pollution is a huge issue, and we need stronger legislation to make sure that plastic manufacturers do their fair part to reduce unnecessary production and waste of plastic consumables.
Why this action? The plastics crisis is deeply intertwined with the climate crisis. (Didn't hear? Plastics are the new coal.) The plastics crisis is also just gross. Did you know that, on average, we already eat and drink a credit card's worth of plastic every week, because our food and water is so contaminated?!? Our planet is buckling under the weight of single use plastic, but the companies most responsible for this have pushed the problem onto us, the consumer. Gee, thanks. We don’t just need more recycling (though we also need that); we need structural challenges to reduce plastic pollution, and this proposed legislation will help.
Over here at 31DoCA, we’re particularly concerned about plastic (which is made from fossil fuels), because, as the world moves away from fossil fuels for transportation and heating, it’s likely that the fossil fuel industry will be trying to push more plastic on us. Let’s not let that happen. After all, they’re not the boss of us!
Looking for more? Read on for more info and actions, including how to reduce waste within your own household.
Learn and reflect:
Why do we think the fossil fuel industry will be pushing more plastic, you ask? Read this short essay or this longer read. Oh also, while we can expect a lot more plastic pollution here in the US unless we take action, the industry also seems to be plotting to push even more of our plastic waste on African countries. Yikes!
The US generates the most plastic waste in the world (even though we're only 4.3% of the population), and most of that waste ends up in landfills (and waterways/oceans), rather than being recycled. By 2050, the ocean is expected to contain more plastic by weight than fish (!!!!). You probably don't need us to tell you that's not good!
Participate in different actions compiled by Break Free From Plastic.
Ask the biggest polluters to support bottle deposits.
Organize a brand audit to help hold companies accountable for their waste.
While governments and companies must do much more to reduce plastic pollution, we can also take steps as individuals to refuse and reduce our household plastic consumption. Like so many of our suggestions, our goal here is not perfection! And you don't have to be fanatical about it. But it's worth taking a few minutes to find a few simple swaps that reduce your household waste.
To get started, check out this list of 100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life.
Zero waste blogs are also packed with great tips on reducing single-use plastic and other waste. Two of our favs are Going Zero Waste (check out her 5 tips for breaking up with plastic) and Trash is for Tossers. Or check out Bea Johnson's 100 Tips to Get to Zero.
Our resources page also lists a few plastic-free companies if you want to make some easy swaps.
Feeling a little more ambitious? You can also sign up to take the Plastic Free Challenge.