Children the world over want to make a difference for our planet.

And we as parents and educators need to empower them and let them know they can help to change the world. This Rivers to Oceans Week, let’s encourage our children to have a hard look at plastic and figure out where they can make a difference.

Plastic. You don’t have to look very far in your house to see it. Floss picks, shampoo bottles, toothpaste tubes — they’re all made of the stuff. And plastic is turning up all over the place outside our homes too — in the oceans, the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and even in Arctic sea ice!

Just think of all the plastic we throw away. When it doesn’t end up at the garbage dump, it finds its way (slowly but surely) to the ocean.

Sadly, some plastic pollution can hurt wildlife. Animals can get entangled in it, and they can also eat it. We can help by cutting down on how much plastic we use and by recycling too. Here are some tips to get started!

Suds Up at Bath Time With a Bar of Soap

soap barsHave you been using body wash in the bath? Well, when you switch over to a bar of soap you won’t be using plastic bottles anymore. It’s much better for the environment!

Take Charge for Recycling Day

recycle binWhen recycling day is coming, go around to all the garbage bins in your house and pull out the plastic bottles: shampoo, conditioner, body wash and more. Better yet, add little recycling bins to all the bathrooms to make it easier for you.

Use Reusable Bags

When your family goes grocery shopping, ask them to use reusable bags instead of plastic bags. When plastic bags reach the ocean, some wildlife, like the Leatherback Sea Turtle, may mistake them for jellyfish and eat them. Chowing down on too many plastic bags can even lead to their death. So, using cloth totes or other reusable bags when you hit the supermarket will really help.

Spend Some Time Cutting Open the Plastic Six-Pack Rings From Beverages

With a little help from an adult, kids can help snip open the plastic six-pack rings from pop bottles or beer cans. Those rings can do some serious damage if they enter our lakes, rivers and oceans. They can entangle birds and also sea turtles. So be sure to snip open the rings when you get home from the grocery store.

You can get more ideas on how to reduce your plastic footprint at