More than 40% of our plastic trash falls under the single-use plastic umbrella -- that is, plastic designed to be used just once. Sometimes this plastic is used for minutes before being discarded, but it stays in our environment for hundreds of years.
As single-use plastics decompose, they release toxic chemicals that damage natural resources and harm marine animals. Of all the plastic created, only 9% of it has been recycled. And by 2050, the UN predicts that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans.
On June 8 this year, CNN is asking students around the world to celebrate World Oceans Day with a Zero Plastic Lunch -- a lunch with no single-use plastic components.
Here's how it works.
Zero Plastic Lunch
We're asking students to evaluate the number of single-use plastics -- such as packaging, cutlery and straws -- that they use throughout the week.
Then, they should think about replacing these items with environmentally friendly alternatives. For example, swap a plastic straw -- which takes 450 years to decompose -- with a paper one, or simply don't use one at all.
Students can participate in the campaign by sharing a photo of their normal lunch and one of their Zero Plastic Lunch with CNN, by emailing ZeroPlasticLunch@cnn.com, or using the hashtag #ZeroPlasticLunch on social media.
CNN will feature the lunches of children around the world across the network on June 8.
The Last Straw
We're also combating plastic straws, which are used once then trashed -- hardly any are recycled.
Convince your school to ban plastic straws, and share with CNN by emailing email@example.com, or using the hashtag #thelaststraw.
Join CNN to beat the world's addiction to single-use plastic, one meal at a time.
- CNN's Zero Plastic Lunch Day
- Our children's plastic lives seen through lunches
- CNN Heroes Tribute: Andra Day and Common
- After plastic straws, this entrepreneur wants plastic toothbrushes to disappear
- Local Business Pays Off Student Lunch Debt
- Restaurant sells black history box lunches
- 'Lunch Heroes' donate nearly $20K for students
- Lunch ladies stole nearly $500K, officials say
- Lunch ladies accused of stealing nearly $550K
- CNN Exclusive: Zuckerberg apologizes