World Oceans Day is on June 8, it is a global day for the celebration of all things ocean and a movement for a collaboration for a better future. Plastic pollution is a big problem for our oceans and although in recent years, people have started cutting down on plastic consumption, as we have realized the effects plastic pollution can have on the environment and our oceans. It’s not enough. Many are still unaware just how much plastic ends up in our oceans and how detrimental this can be on the environment. Most scientists estimate that eight million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year. Adding to the estimated 150 million metric tons currently circulating our oceans.
Although plastic is a useful product, many of these products are created for single-use. An estimated 50 percent of plastic used only once will be thrown away. In less than 10 years, scientists predict there will be 250 million metric tons in the ocean. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish. What is just as bad, perhaps even worse is that the plastic does make it into the ocean breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces known as “microplastics”, rather than biodegrading or dissolving. This poses a great threat to marine life including fish. According to the Ocean Conservancy, plastic has been found in more than 60 percent of all seabirds and 100 percent of sea turtle species
READ MORE: 10 Extremely Simple Things Anyone Can Do To Save Endangered Species
How can we fix this?
We have put together a list of ways that can help you reduce your every day plastic waste. This in turn help save the future of our oceans.
5. Stop Using Plastic Straws
Plastic straws are really bad for the ocean. Over 500 million straws are used every day in America, and most of those end up in our oceans. This then pollutes the water and kills marine life. An estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. Marine life that ingests the plastic will reduce their mortality rate by 50%.
Compostable plastic straws can be no better than regular plastic straws when they get into the oceans. They are designed to break down in compost facility conditions, not in sea water. That is why it is better to switch to paper straws, not compostable plastic straws. Shop for alternatives to plastic straws like paper straws or even metal straws. Eco-friendly reusable straws not only reduce your plastic footprint, they can be used time and time again.
Refusing the single-use plastic straw is the easiest and simplest way for everyone to take action today to address plastic pollution.Accept the challenge and say no to straws. And challenge someone else to #StopSucking. Even take it one step further and get your favorite bar, restaurant, or coffee shop to #StopSucking.
4. Switch To Reusable Shopping Bags
Plastic bags maybe be a convenient way to carry items however, they are a huge plastic pollution problem. Plastic bags have a very high cost to the environment. As a result many cities and countries from around the world have already put plastic bag bans in place. As they are so lightweight, plastic bags can travel long distances by wind and water, eventually make their way into the world’s oceans. Unfortunately marine life can be easily entangled in plastic bags which can result in death.
Switching to reusable bags when shopping can make a difference. Gets into the habit of bringing reusable bags when you go shopping. It really isn’t much of an inconvenience at all to carry them with you. Also, the manufacturing of reusable bags is also another opportunity to create sustainable products and create jobs that go with their production.
3. Use A Reusable Coffee Cup
Most people frequent the local cafe, order a coffee and throw away the disposable cup. According to the EPA, 25 billion styrofoam cups are thrown away each year in the US. Less than 1 in 400 ‘disposable’ coffee cups are recycled. However, most of these ‘disposable’ or ‘recyclable’ coffee cups cannot be recycled due to their plastic lining. This causes additional plastic pollution. It will take it over 30 years for the plastic lining to fragment and close to 100 years to break down completely.
How can you make a difference? Bring your own reusable coffee cup every time you buy coffee by the cup. Drinking coffee from a ceramic or stainless steel tumbler just tastes better! It also provides insulation for hot or cold beverages that can last for hours.
2. Stop Buying Bottled Water
It is not uncommon to find countless plastic water bottles washed ashore on beaches. It’s one of the main sources of plastic pollution and poses a serious threat to the environment. Stop contributing to the bottled water problem, plastic bottles are wasteful and unnecessary.
Plastic Water Bottles are Toxic and reusing petroleum produced plastic water bottles can cause serious health problems. Plastic water bottles take years to break down, much longer to decompose than many other types of trash. Using a refillable water container can save you $200 dollars a month. Make an investment in our planet’s future and buy a reusable water bottle.
1. Use Beauty Products That Don’t Contain Microbeads
Micro beads are little pearls that are intended to be exfoliators, but many wastewater treatment facilities aren’t able to stop them. The microbeads in scrubs, shower gels and toothpastes are an avoidable part of this plastic pollution problem. These products are designed to be rinsed down the drain and thus trillions of these tiny plastic beads end up in our oceans.
If you haven’t already stopped using beauty products containing microbeads, we suggest you do so immediately. They might be good for exfoliating the skin, but they are really bad for the environment and our oceans. Don’t add to the plastic pollution problem. Make the switch and use alternative products that contain natural ingredients like Frank Body.
Start taking steps to reduce plastic pollution and protect our oceans.
Will you start to reduce your plastic waste? Tell us in the comments below or share your own tips with us on social media, just tag @topfivecom and #top5plasticwaste.