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Rise Above Plastics

Rise Above Plastics

Maine's Chapter is heavily engaged in Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics program, through educational programming and campaigns. The mission of the Rise Above Plastics program is to reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

A few facts about plastics...

  • In the United States alone over 100 billion single-use plastic bags are given out by retailers every year, at a cost to retailers of $4 billion (production of these bags requires the equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil per year).
  • Plastics do not biodegrade, but instead break down into smaller and smaller particles. These plastic particles not only persist in the ocean, but they absorb any toxins that may exist in sea water (DDT, (POPs or persistent organic pollutants).
  • Fish, seabirds, and other marine life occasionally ingest this plastic, meaning they are also consuming those toxins. This accumulation of toxins has the potential to reach human consumers, meaning we are also at risk from plastic pollution.
  • Less than 5% of plastic bags are ever recycled.
  • More than 3.5 million tons of plastics were discarded in 2008.
  • Plastic is the most common type of marine litter worldwide.


Eight ways to rise above plastics! 

Simple, easy things you can do to start reducing your “plastic footprint” right now!
  1. Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags, bottled water, and hot beverages: cloth bags, metal/glass reusable bottles, and ceramic coffee go-cups are available locally at great prices.
  2. Refuse single-serving plastic packaging, straws and other “disposable” plastics. Consider keeping a bamboo or metal fork/spoon handy for eating out!
  3. Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
  4. Go digital! No need for plastic CDs, DVDs, or the jewel cases that house them when you can buy your music and videos online.
  5. Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PET) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags (#4) and polystyrene (rigid or expanded foam, #6) as both are typically not recycled in most states.
  6. Volunteer at a beach cleanup. **Surfrider Maine holds monthly cleanups during the spring, summer, and fall months!
  7. Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
  8. Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to Rise Above Plastics!