It’s truly sad the amount of plastic humans have dumped into the ocean waters. It’s estimated that 14,000 pounds of trash are thrown into our oceans every year. Luckily, the world has recognised the problem and society has started making changes. Are you ready to start making changes too? Check out these 6 easy ways to reduce your use of plastic in your everyday life. Want to do more? There are also some awesome environmental efforts happening which are creating some really big waves!
6 Easy Ways To Reduce Plastic Waste
1. Stop Using Straws!
Straws are the worst. Have you seen that poor turtle with a straw stuck up his nose? Plastic straws makeup 8.1% of the total plastic waste. THAT is a lot of straws. It’s estimated that the average person uses 1.6 straws per day. This means that if 25,000 people stop using straws, we would eliminate 5,000,000 straws and prevent them from hurting the environment.
2. Don’t Buy Water
Buying bottled water isn’t a great idea. According to The Association of Plastic Recyclers Only about one-thirds of plastic bottles are actually recycled every year. The waste that these bottles create in our environment isn’t the worst part. It’s the production and transportation that is really hurting the planet. Americans purchase 29 billion bottles of water every year, which requires 17 million barrels of oil to produce. Then the transportation of these bottles releases thousands of tonnes of CO2 into the air. Hopefully these stats will help you remember to pack your water bottle.
3. Use Reusable Bags
Do you remember growing up and have a huge stash of plastic bags you collected from going to the store? Well, those bags never really went away. There is a good chance it ended up in the ocean and is acting like a jellyfish somewhere. When discarded, these bags clog sewage, storm drains and wreak havoc on an estimated 100,000 marine mammals every year. The simple solution is reusable bags. Keep them in your car and bring them in the store with you to carry your purchased items.
4. Single Use Plastic Stinks
Things like plastic utensils, wrappers, and plastic bags are used for a few minutes and then into the trash were they can stay for 100s or even thousands of years. These do break down over time, but never really go away. They just turn into globby plastic chowder. This is not only problematic for the environment and animals, it affects us humans too. These smaller pieces of plastic are ingested by animals turn increasingly toxic. These toxins end up in the food chain, and could end up in our own bodies. If you think avoiding fish will do the trick you’re wrong. These toxins end up in all different types of animals along the coast lines.
5. Recycle Properly
Did you know only 9% of plastic is recycled worldwide? Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid using single use plastic. What we CAN do is recycle and reduce the amount of “new” plastic in the world. If you need help locating a recycle plastic waste near you, check Earth 911 recycling directory. It’s also important to check with your local recycling center about the types of plastic they accept because they can be different in each state/country.
6. Participate In Local Clean Ups
Our passion to help mother earth is shared around the world. Find a local environmental group that you’re passionate about, and volunteer! Need help getting started? Check out these top non profit companies that have locations all around the world. If you can, donate to the cause, that can be a huge help as well. Here are a few major ocean conservations projects you can “dive” right into!
THE OCEAN CLEANUP
Did you know there are 6 huge garbage patches floating for miles in the open sea, killing wildlife. Why go searching for ocean debris when it can come to you? A 20-year-old from The Netherlands started an Ocean Cleanup Project that could change the world within the next 5 years. This U shaped net moves with the waves and tides collecting trash for pick up. It’s estimated to clean up 50% of the great pacific garbage patch every 5 years. They are also developing technology to use recycled plastic from the ocean making the cleanup self-sustainable.
Want to get your hands dirty? 4Ocean is a 24/7 ocean clean up effort started by two surfers. They now are organizing clean up efforts all around the world with volunteers like you and me. You can also purchase a 4Ocean bracelet which contributes to pulling 1 pound of trash out of the ocean.
For those wanting to go a little deeper, Project Aware focus leans toward scuba divers. The Dive against Debris movement promotes scuba diving for a cause and cleaning up debris at the bottom of the ocean. They say
Don’t let your dives go to waste! Grab your mesh bag, scuba gear and data card to make every dive a Dive Against Debris
Our world is naturally beautiful, and it’s our job to keep it that way. We see what we have done and taking action to reverse the devastating effects. This waste change will take a while, but as we all do our part, it will make a world of difference. Small changes in your everyday lifestyle will make some big waves. See if there is any local clean ups you can volunteer for and spread the word! Mother earth will thank you for it.
Molly is the owner of the blog Everything Mermaid and enjoys writing articles not only for her blog, but other mermaid and travel sites. She specializes in mermaid product reviews and discounts codes, and loves to interview professional mermaids around the world!