Philly Residents Urged to Take Pledge for ‘Plastic-Free' Lifestyle

The city Water Department is teaming up with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University to begin an effort to end to plastic waste

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Can you ditch those plastic water bottles? That's what some local institutions in Philadelphia are hoping as they kick off an effort to get city residents to sign a Plastic-Free Philly pledge.

The Philadelphia Water Department, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and the local Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) are teaming up to promote their volunteer effort led by the academy to reduce the amount of single-use plastic bottles.

They want those who take the pledge to replace single-use water bottles with more environmentally friendly and affordable options.

The group would like at least 3,000 residents to take the pledge initially. For more information on ways to get involved, visit the Plastic-Free Philly site. To take the pledge, visit Drink Philly Tap.

“The pledge is simple. It's just a commitment to not using single-use plastics and switching over to (reusable) water bottles and using Philadelphia tap water, which is quite healthy and good for you,” Marina McDougall, Vice President of Experience and Engagement at the Academy of Natural Sciences, said.

According to the organizations, in one year, nearly 25 of the 44 tons of trash removed from the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers were plastics. These rivers provide drinking water to 15 million people within the greater Philadelphia region.

“If we threw a plastic bottle in the water, it breaks down into different parts and those particles end up going into our water and into the food web, and those can eventually affect human health,” McDougall said.

BOMA Philadelphia along with local artists teamed up to bring awareness to plastic pollution by creating 10 art installations. The installations are housed in 10 buildings across Center City and University City June 6 through July 30.

The group would like everyone to get involved by drinking tap water, helping clean up the waterways, making a donation and learning.

The organization also gave tips on how business owners can become plastic-free including:

  • Connect with your building’s property management team to see how you can work together to reduce plastic usage.
  • Install hydration stations and water bottle fillers.
  • Start a sustainability committee.
  • Provide employee incentives for using refillable bottles, especially ones made of stainless steel or glass.
  • Educate your employees on the effects of plastic in our waterways.
  • Consider using a large cooler with iced tap water or boxed water for any event.
  • Create a sustainable culture by providing mugs or glasses for tap water in the eating area.
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