School of fish swimming

If you don’t need that plastic straw, skip it.

Your last straw is the first step.

Join aquariums across the country in reducing plastic waste. Disposable plastic is only in your hands for a moment, but it piles up forever in our ocean, rivers, and lakes – and hurts your favorite aquatic animals. Thankfully, there are simple actions you can take to help – and it starts with the plastic straw.

  • Step 01

    Pledge to skip the straws you don’t need


    Join the other

    who have taken the pledge

    *After taking the pledge, you’ll receive email updates on this campaign. Read our full privacy policy.

  • Did you know?

    Plastic straws don’t biodegrade under natural conditions, and they can’t easily be recycled due to their small size. Instead, they persist on our planet for hundreds of years — breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces without being assimilated back into the environment.

    Get more facts on plastic pollution.
  • Step 02

    Ask your local restaurants to serve straws only on request

    Otter enjoys meal

    @yourlocalrestaurant I took the #FirstStep pledge to fight plastic pollution and protect aquatic wildlife by skipping plastic straws. Join me by becoming a straws-on-request business:

  • Welcome screen on phone

    Step 03

    Sign up now for our 7-day plastic-free challenge

    Ready to make an even bigger impact? Join our week-long challenge and get daily tips (and pictures of adorable animals!) – straight to your phone – to stay motivated on your plastic-free journey.

    Text "FIRSTSTEP" to 49767 to join

    You will receive periodic messages from NEEF. Msg & Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 49767 to opt out. Terms and Conditions

  • Did you know?

    It’s estimated that nearly 9 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year — and if we don’t make changes, the rate of plastic flowing into the sea could double by 2025.

    Get more facts on plastic pollution.
  • Step 04

    Help spread the word on Facebook

    Otter family

    Tackling a problem like plastic pollution takes strength in numbers. Invite your friends to take their first step with you.

  • Did you know?

    Our aquariums have collectively eliminated an estimated 5 million straws in just one year!

    Get more facts on plastic pollution.
  • Penguin family

    Step 05

    Get in touch with your community leaders

    Talk with your federal, state, and local decision-makers about the importance of reducing the sources of plastic pollution.

    Find your representative

Follow Us

Connect with your local aquarium for more ways to take action — and get updates on your favorite aquatic animals.

About the Campaign

First Step is a campaign of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP), a coalition of 22 U.S. aquariums taking action together to advance ocean and freshwater conservation. Our primary goal is to reduce the sources of ocean and freshwater plastic pollution by using a mix of consumer, business, and policy strategies, starting with our own commitment. In 2017, we eliminated single-use plastic straws and bags in our aquariums, and we are working toward significantly reducing or eliminating single-use plastic beverage bottles by 2020. We are also showcasing alternatives to single-use plastic and are looking at other ways we can reduce our plastic footprint. Learn more about the ACP.