You may have heard, plastic microbeads are now banned in the United States. You have the organization 5 Gyres to thank for that. Plastic pollution is a real problem, and lucky for us there is an entire organization working to eliminate single use plastic.
5 Gyres is named after the five ocean gyres (large wind patterns that have pushed plastic garbages into large scale “islands” of trash). They are leading the charge on eliminating single use plastic by arming consumers with the tools to make wise choices and become agents of change in their local community. They have launched a new campaign called Go Topless 4 Oceans, which targets lids on to-go coffee cups. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of using single use coffee lids.
In anticipation of this campaign launch, a longtime colleague and friend—Rachel Sarnoff—the organization’s Executive Director, asked me to participate in a fundraiser that would support their great work. I said yes. But I didn’t realize what I had signed up for… I thought I was agreeing to give a five minute talk on how beauty products can impact the oceans, and as it turned out, Rachel wanted me to tell a personal story about water. Anything about water…
I got a pit in my stomach. Giving a talk or lecture? No prob. Telling a STORY, scary! So I dug deep and shared a story about my latest ocean shenanigans, swimming the Alcatraz race with my family. (You can watch the story below)
But most important, 5 Gyres launched their latest campaign at the event, called Go Topless 4 Oceans. This clever slogan is designed to re-program the way we think about our morning cup of coffee. Often times people are concerned about avoiding styrofoam disposable cups (a good thing), but fail to realize that the material that is used to make the lid on top of nearly every disposable coffee cup in the country, is made of a similar material: polystyrene.
According to 5 Gyres, 5 Reasons to Avoid Styrene:
- Styrene, and polystyrene coffee cup lids, can’t be recycled.
- Styrene has been cited as the fifth biggest hazardous waste pollutant in the world.
- Styrene can migrate out of the lid, and onto your lips.
- Drum roll…it’s classified as a “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” by the well-respected National Toxicological Program.
- In the U.S. we use approximately 25 million styrene lids a year.
What can you do to help reduce plastic pollution & support 5 Gyres?
- Go Topless 4 Oceans. Skip the lid next time you’re buying that morning coffee. Even better, purchase a Klean Canteen stainless steel re-usable mug.
- Share this information and the Go Topless 4 Oceans campaign video on your social media channels using the #GoTopless4Oceans hashtag.
- Join a local styrofoam/styrene ban in your city, using their handy map HERE (scroll down).
- Donate to 5 Gyres. They are kicking ass, each and every day, donate HERE.
Thank you Rachel for pushing me out of my comfort zone. And to the whole team that made our Voices 4 Oceans storytelling extravaganza such an amazing success.
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