How You Can Join the Fight

Did you know that the Great Lakes are the biggest freshwater source in the world? Lake Erie is the most productive for fishing of all the Great Lakes. Your support helps make our streams clean, clear and healthy so they can support this complex ecosystem. By donating to PCS, you help us reach our goals of restoring rivers that lead to Lake Erie beaches that promote fishable and swimmable conditions for generations.

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How You Can Join the Fight


To join the fight against marine debris, all you need is the motivation to make small changes in your lifestyle and the discipline to turn those changes into daily habits. Check out these ideas for what you can do at home to reduce the amount of trash that ends up in our streams, rivers, and lakes. 

MarineDebris11Photo: PCSIn 2015, Americans used an estimated 50 billion plastic water bottles. However, the recycling rate for plastics is only 23%. This means that 38 billion water bottles are not recycled each year in the United States ( Plastic pollution accumulates in landfills and waterways, posing a threat to wildlife, human recreation, and the natural aesthetics that so many people enjoy. One reason people turn to bottled water is because they are concerned regarding the quality of tap water they receive from municipal sources. However, many of the major brands of bottled water come from purified municipal tap water. This means that there is often no difference between tap water and bottled water. Plastic beverage bottles are one of the most collected waste items in stream and beach cleanups across the world. You can make a positive difference by reducing your plastic waste. Here are five simple lifestyle changes that reduce plastics and the chance that these items end up in our waterways:

  1. Purchase a water purifying pitcher. Pitchers with built in filtration devices are cheap and affective, making your water as safe to drink as any bottled water. Many brands can be purchased for as little $25.
  2. Carry a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. Choose a BPA free brand such as Nalgene or Kleen Kanteen. Many universities, municipal buildings, and other buildings have recently installed water bottle refilling stations that are easier to use than drinking fountains.
  3. If you want to make your water more exciting, buy sport drink mixes, tea, or sweeteners in bulk to shake in with a reusable water bottle.
  4. Ask fast food or carryout restaurants to fill your water bottle or reusable coffee cup instead of using a disposable one-time use cups for fountain drinks.
  5. Identify opportunities for recycling disposable water bottles if you decide to purchase one.

MarineDebris12Photo: Ocean Conservancy

  • Say no to straws in your drinks! Straws from restaurants and fast food cups are found in waterways all over the world. Your probably don’t drink from a straw at home, why do it at a restaurant?  
  • Use a reusable grocery bags. Plastic bags are by far one of the most found items on Clean Your Streams Day. Reusable bags can be purchased inexpensively and they are often used as free handouts at events.
  • Look for cardboard packaging at grocery stores or bulk found sellers instead of plastic packaging. Cardboard is more easily recycled and decomposes faster.
  • Store cereal, cookies, rice, pasta or other dry good items that can be bought in bulk in reusable containers that can be taken to the store with you. You can save money and excess packaging by doing this.
  • Take advantage of glass or heavy duty plastic leftover containers that can be used over and over again.
  • There are many reusable water bottle options that are safe and durable. The same goes for travel coffee mugs. Ask to-go restaurants to fill your reusable container instead of wasting a one time use cup.
  • Let take-out restaurants know that you do not need plastic utensils, especially when you are eating at home.
  • The internet has a tremendous amount of instructions on how to make your own non-toxic cleaning supplies, soap, and lotion. By doing this, you save money and purchase even fewer plastic bottles.
  • Pack your lunch in reusable containers instead of individually wrapped items. Buying in bulk and planning ahead make this task easier. Healthier and cheaper meals are an added benefit.
  • If you are a smoker, be a responsible smoker. Carry an ash-try with you and be sure to properly dispose of the contents. Isn’t about time you kicked that habit anyways?
  • Cloth diapers are another means for reducing plastic waste and to saving money.
  • Utilize razors with reusable blades instead of disposable plastic options.
  • Return plastic produce containers to farmer’s markets so that they can be refilled.
  • Pay attention to labeling on face washes and other skin cleansers. Avoid products with microbeads or other plastic scrubbing agents.
  • Ask your local municipality about proper disposable and recycling of electronics.
Partners for Clean Streams Inc. is striving for abundant open space and a high quality natural environment; adequate floodwater storage capacities and flourishing wildlife; stakeholders who take local ownership in their resources; and rivers, streams and lakes that are clean, clear and safe