Simple ways to reduce plastic waste in the ocean

Being the earth-loving hippie that I am, I’m passionate about natural resources, and the ocean is no exception. I used to live two hours from the beach, and every time we went to visit I spent a good amount of time picking up litter from the beach. You can help save the earth (yay, you’re a super hero!) if you are lucky enough to live near a beach by organizing a big beach clean up – or setting up a date night with you, your main squeeze, and a (biodegradable) trash bag to pick up litter as you take a long walk on the beach at sunset. Or you can make a family day out of it with the kids, and use it as a teaching opportunity about global environmental impact of litter and every day consumption habits.

Or if you are landlocked like me, you can help in other ways – the biggest one being removing plastic disposable items from your life. Plastic bags, sandwich bags, bottle caps, tooth paste caps, micro plastic beads from tooth paste, facial scrubs, and soaps, plastic bottles, coffee cup lids, straws, plastic toys and more fill our oceans and ruin ecosystems and kill marine animals.

Some simple ways to remove disposable plastic & help keep plastic waste from entering the ocean & harming marine life:

Use bar soap & shampoo rather than chemically saturated beauty products in plastic bottles. Avoid any beauty products & tooth paste with evil plastic micro beads in them, especially. My favorite brand of bar shampoo is Herban Life & my favorite soap is Olive My Skin.

Using reusable bags makes for happy produce - and oceans! Learn more...

Take reusable shopping bags to the store with you. I love these fruit and veggie sacks from TrashN2Tees because they are doubly ecofriendly, being that they are upcycled from shirts AND they keep plastic bags not only out of landfills, but from even being produced – if you stop using plastic bags at the store, you are reducing the amount of pollutants released into the environment from factories that produce the bags. Go, you! Reusable snack bags help prevent plastic from entering our oceans and damaging marine life & natural ecosystems!

Stop using plastic sandwich/snack bags. Buy reusable containers, though since many are still made from plastic, this actually is NOT as ecofriendly because once they are no longer of use to you, they also become disposable plastic since most containers aren’t recyclable so be sure to check labels before you purchase or opt for glass or ceramic containers instead, and scoop up a reusable sandwich/snack bag that is machine washable rather than buying more plastic plastic bags.

Have a refillable water bottle with you at all times – and make sure it’s made from glass, not plastic! Keep one in the car or in your bag at all times – this way you won’t ever need to grab a beverage in a plastic bottle while you are out! We also stopped buying soda and buy our milk in glass jars rather than plastic bottles. We have only have one plastic cap from the milk jug every two weeks, which still equals 21 caps a year that ends up in landfills since they aren’t recyclable in our area. Replacing sodas and drinks in plastic containers with filtered water or smoothies/juice made at home reduces a huge amount of plastic pollution!

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Graphic from Starbucks – who offers a $0.10 discount for bringing your own mug for coffee!

Always carry a ceramic reusable to-go mug or tumbler with you. Most coffee houses actually give you a discount for bringing a reusable coffee mug. Keep forgetting to bring it? As soon as you get home, rinse it out, wipe it dry and stick it in your purse or diaper bag, or put it back in the cup holder in your car for the next day – voila! Looking at the graphic above, think about Starbuck’s daily traffic, and imagine how small 1.8% of people bringing their own tumbler really is – now imagine what an impact it would make to switch to a reusable tumbler for your daily coffee!

Ordering take out? Skip the drinks in disposable cups with plastic lids and just pour a drink at home instead! Dining out? Straws aren’t recyclable, so tell the serving staff no thanks.

Less is more at the store – buy individual produce rather than packaged fruit or veggies on saran wrapped plastic trays, skip putting the produce in plastic bags, and opt for fresh stalks of greens over bagged varieties. In short – Try to buy the products with the least plastic packaging!

What are some ways you can think of to reduce plastic waste & help keep our water ways clean & healthy?

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