What You Can Do in Your Community

Ready to be a part of the solution? Join us in taking the trash out of food, from city to city and coast to coast.

There are lots of ways you can engage your community in support of foodware policy. Our model ordinance not only reduces plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,  it also saves business owners money from the fixed costs of single-use products like cups, containers, lids, straws, stirrers, etc.

So how can YOU start building an #Indisposable community? Here are 10 of our favorite pro-tips to bring a better way than throw-away to the next level.

1. Walk the walk! Bring your own reusable cup, container, bag, and cutlery for to-go orders and refuse throw-away stuff when you’re out to eat. Ask for plastic-free meals when you order to dine in.

2. Support local businesses that use real cups and real plates to serve your food and drinks (and love that you bring your own reusable cup). Celebrate businesses that are evolving out of single-use trash by tagging them on social media, telling your friends, and of course, gushing rave reviews to the bank teller and postmaster for everyone to hear.

3. Write letters and emails to your district supervisor or council-person supporting legislation that reduces single use items and mandates reusables. Your voice matters and every call counts! While you are at it write to the mayor too and ask your friends to do the same.

4. Volunteer at community events to talk to people about single-use and the move towards reuse - why it matters, how it helps, and how businesses will save money by ditching disposables.

5. Stay informed enough to educate others. Take some time to dive into what single-use to-go products are really made of and why they are bad for people and the environment. Most food packaging is not recyclable or compostable, often containing toxic chemicals.

6. Be an influencer within your sphere of influence. If you are a parent or student, ask your school to switch to reuse in your cafeteria. If you work in a bar, ask your manager to use reusable cups in place of single-use.

7. Join (or create!) local zero waste groups to create support networks to champion reuse systems.

8. Look for opportunities to participate in Board of Supervisor or City Council meetings and to make public comment in support of reuse policy.

9. Reach out for the support and resources your region needs. If you live in a city or town ready to introduce policy to move towards reuse, reach out to UPSTREAM for tools you can use to get the ball rolling with your local government.

10. Standing on the steps of City Hall with a sign and yelling at people on their way to work isn’t the most strategic way to get reuse policies passed. Learning how to work with your local government can spark direct impacts and expand the scope of what's possible. Plus, the most fun way to empower your community is to be directly involved in it. Your district reps are there for this exact opportunity. Find a mentor who can teach you the ins and outs and in-betweens of building the world you want to see - from the inside.

Communities across the US are working together to stop the flow of plastic pollution from coming into our neighborhoods in the first place. Learn more about our National Reuse Network to optimize reuse systems and strategies across the States!