critical campaigning steps

Do Your Research


The key to an effective campaign is making sure it's focused, relevant to your community, and based in reality. So your first step is to gather some information about what is actually going on in your community. You need to ask yourself (and others in the community) lots of questions like:

  • What do different types of people in your community think about single-use plastic ending up in the ocean?
  • Where is there lots of single-use plastic being used and thrown away?
  • What types of single-use plastics do you see on the ground and in the trash? What do you see the most?
  • Where is that plastic coming from?
  • Are there any efforts already happening in your community to reduce single-use plastic? If so, would you want to join them? Coordinate with them?
  • Who are likely partners in your campaign?
  • Who might be most opposed to your suggestions?

Waste Audit

One way to really understand how much plastic is being used and disposed of in a particular place is to measure, or conduct an audit of the waste. Focus on a particular place, for example: your home, classroom, school, a soccer game, your church, or a local coffee shop (with their permission). Then, count how many plastic items are used and disposed of over a relevant time period - an hour, a day, a game, a church service, etc. It's important to ask yourself if the time period you used to measure is average, or out of the norm. What does this information tell you about plastic use in your community?

  • See how to do a personal waste audit and earn points towards the Tide Turners Badge here.
  • Here is some information on how businesses can audit their waste. Maybe you can offer to help them.
  • Check out this information on conducting a bin audit wherever you want to focus.

Community Plastic Audit

How much plastic is littering your community? Where are there hotspots? What are the major sources? There are some cool citizen science protocols and apps that will help you understand the plastic pollution problem in your community.

Litterati is one really cool smartphone app and citizen science project that allows you to identify and geotag litter in your community, contributing to a huge body of data about plastic pollution worldwide.

In Your Campaign Planner

In a few paragraphs, debrief what you discovered about the use and disposal of single-use plastic items in your community. Did anything surprise you? If you did an audit, what did you find?

With the information you discovered in your research,
you're next step is to define the problem you want to address.