Our oceans and marine life are being choked by a continuous supply of plastic; from plastic bags and bottles, to straws and microbeads. 80% of marine plastics come from land-based sources, which are then blown or washed into the ocean. Plastic travels well and ends up on shorelines, in the stomachs of ocean life, and as giant floating islands, thousands of miles from civilization.
Annually, more than 8.8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans. That’s the same as five grocery bags filled with plastic, for every foot of coastline in the world!!! That is seriously disturbing and it all seems so overwhelming that you might be thinking to yourself: “Well what can I do about it and would it actually help at all!?”
In 2008, the average amount of waste generated by each person in America per day, was 4.5 pounds (2.04kg).Imagine we all reduced our waste by 50% and we multiplied that by 7.5 billion (people) – surely that would have a beneficial impact?
Read these 5 simple ways to start reducing your single-use plastics and you will see how easy it is to become Ocean Superheroes (no super powers or genetic mutations needed)!
1. Drink Responsibly
Americans use an estimated 50 billion plastic water bottles a year, of which only 23 percent are recycled. So, ditch the dodo, buy water in glass bottles or invest in a reusable container and save some lives in the process.
2. Get your fix, the eco-way!
Your daily caffeine fix is more than likely aiding and abetting the plastic scourge. Every cup of Java comes hand in hand with a plastic lid, a plastic stirrer or in fact, the very cup might be plastic! The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year.
If you break your plastic addiction by buying a travel-mug, not only will you prevent hundreds of pieces of plastic from entering the environment, but you will also protect your own health!!! When in contact with heat, plastic/Styrofoam releases a whole chemical cocktail, which seeps into your daily fix and absorbs into your body.
3. Refuse plastic straws:
500 Million straws are used in the USA, EVERY DAY!!! That’s staggering! Straws are an unnecessary evil – refuse a straw the next time you buy a soda or milkshake, or get some funky glass straws (they are quite durable!). Need motivation to make this change? Watch this: https://youtu.be/d2J2qdOrW44
4. Ban the Bag:
Every year, Americans use approximately 1 billion shopping bags, and worldwide we use a total of 500 billion plastic bags. By making a simple choice you can save lives – lots of lives: One survey of leatherback turtles found that 1 in 3 has at least one plastic bag in its stomach, where it causes pain and leads to starvation. Please switch to reusable shopping bags, the following video might assist the process: https://youtu.be/oxLWt8NDneI
5. Fork the Knives:
Instead of accepting plastic cutlery with your take-out, rather invest in some eating utensils which won’t end up in the bin once the meal’s over. Sticking with metal or bamboo eating utensils which you can reuse, would help the ocean and its creatures breathe better. This video clip might help bring this message home to you: https://youtu.be/VRiTABRQOjk. Daily, we are accosted by myriads of plastic in different ways, and there are a multitude of simple (and cost-effective) ways in which we can minimize our plastic footprint.
So, start making choices today that will turn you into an ocean superhero, saving lives with the choices you make – It’s like another superhero once said: “It’s in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it…” Nelson Mandela.