Plastic waste is a problem. Birds and sea life are dying because of it, and by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now larger than Texas and waterfronts all around the world are starting to look unrecognizable.

So, what do we do?

Well, multinational corporations, governments, nonprofits and NGO’s – as well as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – are working to tackle these monumental challenges and establish a more circular economy.

And once a year, people around the world unite around Earth Day and convene to remind society how important it is for us all to do our part to conserve the environment. We make that annual promise that “really, no really, this year we’re going to make big changes” to protect our surroundings. But year after year, our commitments usually go the way of New Year’s Resolutions – forgotten and not enacted.

At Rubicon, we’ve learned that in order to really make a difference we need to start by doing something manageable and specific. For us, it’s keeping waste out of landfills.

Did you know reuse and recycling is currently the top action society can do today to simultaneously improve the environment, the economy, sustainable manufacturing and to prevent waste from going into oceans? Or that when U.S. recycling levels reach 75% it will be the environmental and CO2 equivalent of removing 55 million cars from U.S. roads each year?

What if this year we keep it simple and take a vow to save #UsedCups?

Everything society produces could have a next use. So, Rubicon decided why not encourage cup-users around the world to think about the next use of an everyday object like cups?

Think about what you drink out of every day, at home, at work and on the go. Do you opt for the reusable coffee mug or a single-use disposable cup? If you must choose single-use, do you recycle or compost it afterward? These are questions very few people think about on a daily basis, but if people did, they could have a profound positive impact on the environment.

Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups and 58 billion paper cups annually. These cups are not recycled, most are not recyclable, and yet we keep using them over and over because no one stops to think about their environmental impact.

So how can you help change this bad habit that we’ve developed as a society? Well, we invite you to join us in raising awareness about cup-use and get others to do the same this Earth Day.

Post about your beautiful reusable cups on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with #UsedCups by April 19th and be entered to win two 3-day passes to SweetWater 420 Fest in Atlanta or an Apple Watch Series 2.

Every reused and recycled beverage container counts. Reusable water bottles are highly encouraged. Ceramic coffee mugs? You bet. Even solo cups? Absolutely, if you’re that person who puts them in the dishwasher or that saint who always recycles them.

Even our friends at 30A and SweetWater 420 Fest have joined us in declaring, “We like #UsedCups and we cannot lie!” At this year’s Sweetwater 420 Fest, April 21-23rd, 30A and Rubicon are teaming up as “dumpster divers” to recycle as many plastic festival beer cups as possible, diverting waste from landfills and the ocean. Festival goers will be given the opportunity to fill recycling bags with #UsedCups from the beer stands in exchange for a 30A Dumpster Diver t-shirt and/or a SweetWater beer.

So as we approach Earth Day 2017, remember that everything we do has an impact and a footprint. Please join us by lightening your step and inspiring friends, family and even festival goers.

Go ahead, show us your #UsedCups!

Terms and Conditions of the contest will apply.