Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? If not, I advise you to google it or watch a YouTube video on it as soon as you can because if that doesn't encourage you to reduce your plastic consumption, I don't know what will. When I found out what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is, I was horrified. It is the most extensive collection of debris in our ocean, and it lies right between Hawaii and California. Scientists have found that the trash, that is made up of tiny fragments of plastic, is twice the size of Texas. The problem with plastic in our oceans is environmental factors like heat from the sun as well as the waves, break down the plastic into smaller fragments which are difficult to clean and are ingested by marine life.
Here are a few tips on what you can do to reduce your contribution of plastic in our oceans:
Use reusable water bottles
Water bottles are an example of a common single-use plastic, which means people only use them once before throwing them out. The most cost-effective and sustainable way of drinking water on the go is in a reusable water bottle. You can purchase it at almost every grocery store and it keeps your water cool as well as drastically reduces the amount of plastic used every day.
Stop using unnecessary plastics
Another popular single-use plastic is straws. Recently many states in the U.S established a "strawless summer" campaign where most restaurants either didn't serve straws to customers or they gave recyclable paper substitutes. Funny enough, many people were actually upset with the campaign which forced them to break the habit of using a straw with every drink. It is alarming how our usage of plastic has become second nature to us.
Pick up garbage and litter when on the beach
I'm not saying you need to pick up every piece of trash on the beach but if you come across a water bottle cap or a wrapper, please pick it up and put it in a nearby trash can. This is the most direct way of saving the ocean and there is no reason to let any more trash making its way into the bellies of marine life.
Bring you own bag to the grocery store
Many countries in Europe have already enforced a no plastic bags policy in their grocery stores. In France, they offer people the option of purchasing a paper bag to carry their groceries. More and more people are starting to bring their own durable plastic or cloth bags when they shop which greatly decreases the use of plastic bags.
If you aren't already separating and recycling your trash, it is never too late to start. Separate your glass from your plastics from your metal to your paper. If you have designated bins for certain materials, recycling will be just as easy as normally throwing the items away except this time, your trash will go to the right place to be recycled into new materials.
People often forget that plastic does not decompose. So although it is easier to buy a 24 pack of water bottles that your family can use on the go, think about where it will end up. Scientists have estimated over half the sea turtles on earth as well as nearly every seabird have eaten plastic in their lifetime. By following these tips, you are making a difference in the ongoing crisis that is plastic pollution.