The devastating effects of our plastic addiction on the environment is overwhelming. If you start to pay attention and track your single use plastic trash daily, weekly and even monthly you will be astonished by the amount of waste.
According to Nat Geo and many other researchers, only 10% of plastic trash is actually recycled. Around 8 million metric tons of plastic trash enters the ocean each year, the equivalent of emptying a garbage truck filled with plastic into the ocean every minute. Then, it tends to collect in the world’s five large gyers, which are large systems of spiraling currents and degrades into fragments that fall into deeper water, where currents carry it to remote parts of the globe.
One of the five gyers, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (located half way between California and Hawaii) is said to be more than two times the size of Texas. Research shows that the patch has approximately six times more plastic than it does plankton, which serves as the primary food source for many different types of fish and marine life. Can you imagine all of the potentially hazardous chemicals we are consuming in our food chain as a result of this plastic nightmare? Especially for us pescatarians and sushi lovers!
If we can wean ourselves from single use plastics and turn to better biodegradable options, we may be able to put a stop to further plastic pollution and the detriment it causes to our bodies and our environment. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take that will dramatically decrease the amount of plastic waste you generate.
Stop buying water. Say no to plastic straws, lids and drink stirs. Instead travel with your own reusable water bottles, stainless steel utensils and straws. Bring your own garment bag to the dry cleaners and your own produce bags to the grocery. Use etee or other beeswax wraps to keep food fresh at home or on the go. Use reusable coffee k-cup pods and bring your own mug to Starbucks. Dump the Q-tips and try these alternative methods for removing ear wax.
Avoid products that contain micro beads or micro fiber. Buy in bulk, select the bigger containers instead of buying several smaller ones over time. Participate in beach clean ups. Recycle. Buy from sustainable companies and make your voice heard if you believe a company could be smarter about its packaging!
Finally, support these non-profit organizations working to tackle the problem of ocean plastic pollution in a variety of different ways, including Oceanic Society, Plastic Pollution Coalition, 5 Gyres, Algalita, Plastic Soup Foundation, and others.