Plastic Pollution, Youth
October 06 2015

Raptober: October is Rise Above Plastics Month

Plastic lasts forever.
It doesn’t biodegrade, and no naturally occurring organisms can break it down. As a result, churning in the five oceanic gyres is an estimated 100 million tons of marine litter which is there to stay. What’s more, an estimated 20 million tons of plastic litter enter the ocean each year.  This plastic pollution entangles, or is ingested by  the sea creatures we love, harming or slowly killing them.

It is estimated that Americans go through about 100 billion plastic bags a year, or 360 bags per year for every man, woman and child in the country. And those plastic bags and single-use plastic bottles are ending up in our ocean.

Be Part of the Solution!
Surfrider won’t stand idly by in the face of this plastic epidemic. That’s why we’re not just cleaning up the plastic already littering our beaches, but helping people and communities stop plastic pollution before it reaches the ocean, beaches and waves we all love. Our Rise Above Plastics program responds to the plastic litter in our ocean and beaches.  And you can help solve this threat:

1. Create a RAP Campaign at your school to reduce single use plastics

2. Hold a Beach Clean Cleanup and post your photos to Instagram with the hashtag #RiseAbovePlastics.

3. Use the plastic collected to enter our Instagram Plastic Art Contest. Show your creativity and help to raise awareness of the effects of plastic pollution. Enter to have a chance to win some cool prizes.

Arrange, glue or puzzle the pieces of plastic trash you’ve collected to make a unique piece of art. Maybe it’s an art sculpture or mosaic. Get creative!
Having trouble with ideas? CLICK HERE to download and print one of our mosaic templates. If you have a lot of trash, maybe download and fill all three.
Take a photo of your plastic art piece and post to Instagram with the hashtag #RiseAbovePlastics or email your photo to  Be sure to include your full name and the location you collected the trash.  All photos must be submitted by Wednesday, October 29th.
If you do not plan to keep your art piece(s), be sure to properly dispose in an appropriate waste container designated for recycling.

4. Make recycled bags out of old t-shirts to avoid using plastic bags

5. Designate a reusable bottle day at your school – encourage other students to bring to school as well

6. Create a Movie Event and show Into the Gyres or the Story of Stuff. Contact us for online access to the movies.

7. As a finale to the month we will hold an interative Google Hang Out Session October 27th with the filmmaker and scientists of Intro the Gyres. You must contact to register for this online event in advance.

Get the facts, show a movie, create beach cleanup and enter the Plastic Art Contest — and encourage your friends to join the fun!

The Rise Above Plastics program (RAP) is the Surfrider Foundation’s response to the problem of plastic litter in our ocean and marine environments. The goal of the program is to educate the public on the impacts single-use plastics have on marine environments, and how individuals can make changes in their daily lives and within their communities that will stem the flow of plastics into the environment. RAP also calls upon people to reduce their plastic footprint by reducing or eliminating the use of products such as single-use plastic water bottles and plastic bags.