Stop Pollution At The Source
Plastic is a problem before it reaches the beach. Extraction, production, consumption, and disposal all carry serious environmental and humanitarian consequences. Single-use plastic is particularly detrimental as bags, bottles, straws, expanded polystyrene foam, and food wrappers consistently top the list of items our volunteers collect at cleanups. Researchers estimate up to 11 million metric tons of plastic waste is entering the ocean every year and that by 2025, 11 billion metric tons will have accumulated in the environment.* This pollution is impacting our marine ecosystems and wildlife including seabirds, dolphins, fish, turtles, and whales. Plastic fragments are even displacing plankton as the base of the food chain. It’s not just ocean life at stake – plastic contains toxic chemicals that can transfer from containers, cups, cutlery, and straws directly into the food we eat. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of microplastics we’re exposed to on a daily basis through our food, water, and air.* *sources can be found on Beachapedia
While the problem may be complex, the solution is simple – we need to stop plastic at the source! The Surfrider Foundation’s Great Lakes Friendly Restaurants program does just that. We recognize restaurants that are committed to cutting out wasteful single-use plastic and offer a simple, straightforward framework to help them make sustainable choices for our ocean. The result is a community of like-minded restaurants we can promote, support, and lift up as examples of success to influence plastic reduction legislation. The larger we grow our network of Great Lakes Friendly leaders, the more mainstream the concept of plastic-free becomes.