Plastic is ubiquitous in our everyday lives. Some plastics we can reuse or recycle—and many play important roles in areas like medicine and public safety—but other items, such as straws, are designed for only one use. In fact, more than 40 percent of plastic is used only once before it is thrown away, where it lingers in the environment for a long, long time. It often breaks down into smaller and smaller particles, called microplastics, which can be ingested by both animals and people. Fortunately, there are things we can do to help—like stop using plastic bags, straws, and bottles, recycling when we can, and disposing of waste properly.
Use these classroom resources to teach about ocean plastics and check back for more coming later this year!