Take Action To Support A Litter Free Chicago-Calumet River System

Litter is a world-wide problem which is not just an eyesore, it hurts people and wildlife, and the Chicago area is no exception. Friends and our partners on the Litter Free Taskforce are working to create resources, share information and promote events, behaviors, and policies which contribute toward a Litter Free Chicago-Calumet River system. Learn more about the Litter Free Chicago-Calumet River system program here.

Such a huge problem requires partnerships, dedication, and each one of us doing our part to reduce waste and litter. Here are some ways you can be a part of the solution.   

Volunteer to help us #LoseTheLitter:

Time to adopt a litter free lifestyle!

Since litter is a human-made problem, it requires a human-made solution. While Friends works through partnerships to change policy on issues like single-use plastics, we also recognize the need for each of us to individually do what we can to attack this stubborn problem. Based on our research of local litter data and embracing best practices from litter free campaigns across the world, here are the most important ways you can help make a Litter Free Chicago-Calumet River:

  • Be aware of your purchasing power.
    • Food packaging is one of the top five things found in many litter cleanups, and we can reduce this litter by not buying individually packaged goods.
    • Buy products in bulk and use reusable containers to portion food. This will likely save you money and send a message to producers you will not buy single serving packaged goods.
    • Stop buying single-use plastics; many of individual water bottles, silverware, straws and cups end up in our river and lake. Creating plastic also uses an enormous amount of energy which is contributing to climate change.
  • Get in the habit of bringing your own reuseable grocery bags, water bottles and coffee cups with you. Many coffee shops offer a discount if you bring your own cup.
  • Follow the recycling guidelines for the Blue Bins in Chicago and up your recycling! Though recycling has increased, a majority of plastics still are not recycled.
  • Place your recycling can next to your garbage can at home, work or school with simple signage to encourage and educate people about recycling.
  • Close garbage can lids to keep critters and wind from spilling waste into the street, which is then only a breeze or a rainstorm away from being in the river. .

Support Policy Actions 

  • Call your legislative representatives and voice your support for policies that reduce plastic waste and improve water, environmental, and public health.