Five Ways to Keep Plastics out of the Great Lakes


Did you know that each year 22 million pounds of plastic enters the Great Lakes? The majority of it washes ashore, accounting for 80 percent of beach litter.

Because half of all plastics are used just once then thrown away, one simple solution is to  reduce the amount of plastic used. Here are a few ways to get started based on tips from Eco Watch:

5. Bring your own container

Whether it’s bringing a to-go mug to your favorite coffee shop or a cloth bag to the grocery store, every little bit counts! Visit the bulk food aisle to eliminate excess packaging (and save money).

4. Choose reusable utensils

Half a billion plastic straws are used and discarded every day. Choose reusable utensils made from stainless steel or bamboo. They’re travel-friendly and sustainable.

3. Volunteer at a beach clean-up

Volunteer for a beach clean-up near you. Alliance for the Great Lakes is one of the organizations we support and they offer volunteer opportunities through “Adopt-a-Beach”. Want to get more steps in? Try plogging – the new international eco-fitness craze.

2. Use a reusable water bottle

Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles each year. They litter our green spaces, pile up in our landfills, and float in our waters. Using a reusable bottle is one way to drink responsibly.   

1. Reduce everyday plastics

Search for an alternative to plastic wrap, sandwich bags or any other plastic items you use every day. The Top 10 Eco-Friendly Substitutes for Plastic offers simple ways to help purge plastic consumption.

It’s the small things that make a difference. At eightyfive MILES, we believe love for the Great Lakes is shared through education and action—doing our part to do the right thing.

Together, we can help protect the waters that make our state so special.