1. Say no to straws.
Animals can get sick after mistaking them for food. Instead, carry your own paper straw or reusable version.
2. Fill up at a fountain.
Drink out of a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic version. That way you won’t be buying one of the nearly one million plastic drink bottles sold every minute around the world.
Need a straw? Try one made of bamboo, silicone, glass, or paper!
3. Make a better bag.
Pack sandwiches and snacks in reusable containers or cloth sacks instead of plastic bags. Here’s how to make your own!
4. Snack on fruit.
Pack an apple, banana, or orange instead of snack packs. Fruit fills you up in a healthy way, plus there’s no extra packaging. (Save the core, peels, and rinds for your compost bin.)
5. Build a good goodie bag.
Don’t fill your birthday goodie bags with plastic yo-yos and other trinkets for your friends. Instead, give them homemade treats or coupons to a local bakery.
6. Go for the cone.
No matter your favorite ice-cream flavor, always choose to have it in a cone. Who needs plastic spoons and cups when you can eat the bowl?
7. Buy in bulk.
Encourage your family to shop for snacks, cereal, and pasta in the bulk section of your grocery store or natural food shop to avoid waste from plastic packaging. Then store it all in reusable glass jars.
8. Ditch microbeads.
Don't use face wash or toothpaste with microbeads. (If the ingredients label lists polyethylene or polypropylene, the item likely contains microbeads.) These tiny plastic beads go down the drain, eventually flowing to rivers, lakes, and the ocean. There they can be mistaken for food by fish and sea turtles—a dish that could be deadly.
Eat ice cream, save the world.
9. Never litter.
Hey, sometimes you have to use plastic, and that's OK! But always recycle the plastic that you can, and never leave it in the environment. Trash left on the ground often blows into creeks and rivers, eventually making its way to the ocean.
10. Pick up what you can.
Grab a parent and pick up the trash that you find in your local creek or river. But be careful: Never grab anything that looks sharp or dangerous. Here's how to host your own neighborhood cleanup.
Trash left in creeks and rivers often ends up in the ocean.
Text by Allyson Shaw, NG Staff
Photo credits (top to bottom): Kanittha Boon, Shutterstock; Kerdkanno, Shutterstock; Fuse, Getty Images