Ideas for Plastic Substitutions | eePRO @ NAAEE

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Ideas for Plastic Substitutions

Hi Everyone!

Earth Day is just a little more than two weeks away. I was wondering if anyone had any interesting ideas or suggestions for plastic substitutions to share with the audiences we connect with. One of the biggest ones that we focus on at my job is reusable or paper straws (or better yet, skipping it altogether). Does your organization participate in any particular plastic-free campaigns? How do you communicate your message? Are there any changes that you have made in personal life to move towards reducing your own footprint?

Looking forward to the responses!

Great question. My local hometown environmental group is working with restaurants to remove straws and/or make someone ask for them. You can read about it here -

For my work, we are part of the BreakFreeFromPlastic coalition. Others might be interested in learning more here -

I would love to see more happen around single-use plastics. It is unfortunate as a consumer we have few choices and little say over what commodities are put on store shelves.

Hi Erin,

This year I've embarked on a Zero Waste Classroom Challenge with my first grade students to attempt to raise their awareness about the impact of single-use products that overwhelmingly end up in the landfill. A lot of these items are plastic. I have been documenting our journey, including some of the switches/changes we have made, on my blog (link below).

At home, I'm also on a mission to eliminate plastic from my life as much as possible. Below are some of the resources I use that I find really helpful.

Also, there's a new company launching in certain parts of the US later this year called Loop Store that will sell common household items in reusable packaging. It's an interesting concept!

Good luck!

Great question! The Tennessee Aquarium has recently joined the In Our Hands campaign which is a partnership of over 20 zoos and aquariums committed to reducing single use plastics. Our facility utilizes paper straws in our concessions. A big hurdle has been reducing the plastic packaging utilized by our vendors that provide gift shop items. An additional element has been centered around educating the public on the ways in which they can reduce the impacts of plastic pollution. The Tennessee River has recently come into the public eye as an epicenter of the freshwater microplastic pandemic. As we know all of our water resources are connected and the problem starts on land with our mismanagement and apathy. By exposing the public to the issue, we hope to be able to communicate simple ways to reduce our impact on our water resources.