What You Can Do

Cigarette lighters collected on a cleanup. Photo credit: NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program Marine Debris Team, 2016

Click on the buttons below to find out what you can do on the local, state, and federal levels.

More than 27 municipalities in Florida have passed single-use plastic reduction policies/laws. Learn how to pass a local city/county ordinance.

We really need your help passing state legislation. Learn what can be done at the state level and how you can help repeal preemptions. You can also ask for Extended Producer Responsibility.

We need federal policy for Extended Producer Responsibility! Learn how to help pass the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.

Photo: Oceana

Reduce Waste

Corporate campaigns:

A great visual from Surfrider Foundation.

President Biden can tackle this crisis with the stroke of a pen.

The Break Free From Plastic Coalition has created a plan outlining the eight executive actions President Biden can take, with or without Congress, to fight the plastic pollution crisis.

Workplace:

School:

Your school/school system might sign a multi-year contract for products. If so, you can work on asking them to commit to green choices for their next contract.

Events:

Take Out and Delivery:

Enact policies in local and state government that require customers to “opt in” for accessories like plastic utensils, or for restaurants to “ask first” before adding all the unnecessary extra stuff to your order.

Reuse, Refill, and Opt-In Policies

Would you like to advocate for a reuse policy? For example, having to “opt-in” for accessories when ordering take-out and delivery? Requiring reusables for on-site dining?

View and download sample model reuse policies from UPSTREAM here.

You can also suggest this to your state legislators and ask for a statewide “opt in” or “by request only” law.

Bonus: California restaurants that have already switched to by-request utensils have saved between $3,000 and $21,000 per year.

Use your cleanup to raise community awareness about the plastic pollution crisis and always include a call to action on policy (not only individual choices) whenever you post photos on social media.

Speak to your state lawmakers!

Speak in front of all of the state lawmakers in your county at the same time at a delegation hearing. You can sign up to speak for 2-3 minutes in front of your county’s state lawmakers and ask them to make reduction of single-use plastics a legislative priority. Find out when your county’s delegation is meeting here. Fill out a speaker form and send it in by the deadline. You can also ask them to make repeal of plastic/foam preemptions a priority.

Hosting a cleanup?

Hosting a cleanup can help raise awareness about the plastic pollution crisis, but make sure you always educate your participants on what they can do to influence policy. While beach cleanups and individual actions are wonderful, we know that they will not solve the plastic pollution crisis. We need legislative action. Always include a “Call to Action” on policy whenever you post photos on social media. While individual, voluntary actions are appreciated, we really want to inspire larger, collective actions that will influence local, state, and/or federal legislation. We want to inspire people to call, write, and make appointments with their elected officials. Share PlasticFreeFL.org with your audience so that they know how to get more involved.

You can also tag your state elected officials and ask them to repeal the preemption laws on single-use plastics. Tag your mayor or city commissioner and ask them to pass a local ordinance. Tag your members of Congress and ask them to pass the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has begun rulemaking to phase out the use of polystyrene products in Florida grocery stores, markets, convenience stores, and other regulated businesses. 

Exciting News about Polystyrene Rulemaking from the Florida Department of Agriculture!

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has begun rulemaking to phase out the use of polystyrene products in Florida grocery stores, markets, convenience stores, and other regulated businesses. 

“Polystyrene may be convenient, but there is a hidden danger to public health from these disposable consumer products. Chemicals in polystyrene are not only linked to human and animal health concerns, but because these petroleum-based products take at least 500 years to decompose, their negative effects continue long after they’re thrown away,” said Commissioner Fried. “As Florida’s consumer protection and food safety agency, we have an opportunity to help consumers and companies make a positive change. That’s why I’m excited to announce that we have started the rulemaking process to phase out the use of polystyrene food packaging at the 40,000 grocery stores, markets, and convenience stores that we regulate in Florida. By increasing demand for cost-effective alternative products, this is a huge opportunity to create Florida jobs, at Florida businesses, using Florida-grown crops to create next-generation products that are made in Florida. This vision to phase out polystyrene until reaching zero within this decade is a monumental change for consumers, health, and the environment, joining a third of U.S. states in taking action on this issue.” Read more here.


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