Take Action Locally to Reduce Plastic Pollution

Help your community reduce its plastic use

June 26, 2023

Plastic pollution is a serious problem for the Great Lakes and the people and wildlife who live here.

Researchers from the Rochester Institute of Technology estimate that over 22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes annually. And University of Toronto researchers calculate that the amount of microplastics in the surface water of the Great Lakes is higher than plastic concentrations in the widely publicized Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Stopping the flow of all that plastic can feel overwhelming. But you can make a difference by helping your community reduce its plastic use. Now is the time to move away from single-use plastic and encourage reuse, refill, and reduction.

Start by asking questions

Your town, your park district, and your school board all have policies that affect plastic pollution. Start by learning what’s happening in your community. 

Find out:

  • Are there water refill stations at your public parks and schools?
  • Does your school board have a purchasing policy that bans single-use plastic including polystyrene foam cups and food containers?
  • Has your local community center moved to reusable items to save money and waste on single-use plastic?
  • Does your city or state allow you to bring your own reusable containers to groceries and restaurants? 

Make your change happen

Once you’ve learned what’s going on in your community, pick one thing you want to change – and find out who can make that change happen. For instance, if you want to see water refill stations at all your public parks and beaches, your park district board members might be the people who can make the decision and allocate money to pay for it.

After you know what you want to change and who can make it happen, it’s time to build support and contact the decision makers. Here are some tools to help:

Build support:

Communicate with decision makers:

Stopping plastic pollution is a huge task. But when you change a policy locally, you’re doing more than helping your community reduce one type of plastic. You’re creating momentum for the next change and the next – in your community, in your state, and nationally – bringing all of us closer to systemic reductions in single-use plastic production and pollution.

Let us know how it’s going! Contact us at

Visit Our Action Center

Your voice, when combined with thousands of people around the lakes, can make a difference! Tell decision makers it’s time to stop single-use plastic production and pollution.

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