Single-use plastics make up a lot of the things that we use in our everyday lives. Every day, for example, more than 500 million single-use plastic straws are used around the world, contributing to a monumental problem of environmental pollution. Single-use plastics do not break down, and are often left in environments for thousands of years at the least.

We’re taking valuable steps towards fixing our environment: single-use plastic bags have already been banned in many countries and U.S. states, including California, and localities are coming up with more ways to ensure that the environment is not needlessly degraded. Well over 200,000 tons of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean every year, and it is a mission of many to stop the process of ocean pollution through these harmful means.

The conservation efforts undertaken by those who care about the environmental security of the planet can only go so far when the rest of us are polluting at such an alarming rate. We must learn to double our cleaning efforts with a conscious choice to reduce the amount of plastic waste that we introduce into the environment.