Laura Oakleaf

President Preckwinkle signs a pledge to reduce her use and waste of plastic.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle gathered with elected officials and leaders from the Shedd Aquarium, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), to announce a joint resolution to fight in 2018 against plastic pollution in local waterways. The commitment aligns with a new federal law banning the sale and manufacture of personal care products containing plastic microbeads set to be implemented this year.

"There’s still much to be done to protect our waterways from further plastic pollution,” President Preckwinkle said. Joining together, taking action today, we can make a difference and keep Lake Michigan healthy and vibrant and make an overall positive impact on our environment."

About 22 million pounds of plastic including straws, drink lids and single-use plastic bags flow into the Great Lakes each year, according to the IEC. Plastic accounts for about 80 percent of litter on the Great Lakes’ shorelines.  True solutions focus on reducing the sources of plastic pollution. Small actions can turn into big solutions for challenges facing our Great Lakes and oceans.

As these Great Lake Leaders resolve to reduce plastic pollution they are also calling on elected officials, businesses and residents to join them in a New Year’s resolution to pass on plastic whenever possible and help reduce plastic pollution in the Great Lakes.