Sierra Club plastics reduction campaign goes statewide

Our plastics reduction campaign, called “Take a Pass on Plastics,” which started in the Northern suburbs will now be available to all of Illinois. Plastics are a threat to human and animal health. They break down into microplastics, which are found in humans and aquatic animals. Research is just starting to show the negative health effects of microplastics in humans. Over 90% of plastics are made from fossil fuels. Recycling is not proving to be an effective way to deal with this excess plastic, as recycling policies vary so much, and few types of plastics can actually be recycled. In the US, less than 6% of plastics are recycled. Most plastic goes into landfills and the rest is burned. Even when the limited types of plastic are recycled, it is often “downcycled”. When recycled plastic is made into other things, it gets degraded. The material can only be refabricated a few times before it becomes unusable and goes into a landfill.

Benefits of joining

Being a part of the plastics team increases your knowledge about this problem, expands your resources for local action, and connections with others to help you accomplish plastic reduction in your community.

1. Restaurant initiatives- visiting restaurants and asking that management not automatically to provide plastic cutlery, and/or allowing customers to opt out when ordering online

2. Grocery store initiatives- visiting grocery stores and asking them to eliminate plastic bags for carryout. A team member helped get Naperville Mariano’s to do this so at a minimum we can contact Mariano stores in other towns

3. Public education- several ways to do this. Offer to give short presentations at libraries or other small groups. And doing tabling events. Tabling with permission at a store to share information on plastic reduction. And in the summer, tabling at summer events- town festivals, farmers markets, etc. You can find plastic team members with a similar interest to table with you . Resources for these available.

4. Get support from other team members for local plastic reduction initiatives

5. Help spread the word on this team and plastic reduction on social media. Be willing to actively share information posted to Sierra Club Instagram and Facebook with your preferred social media.

6. Keep our plastic reduction slide deck current by sharing research on studies showing impact on health for example. The plastics team has regular Zoom meetings. There are currently have over 100 people signed up who are interested in the campaign. We are open to anyone who is interested to join our team to learn more and share ideas about actions we can take in our communities. Please email Pat Nuccio, the campaign leader at